Tag Archives: Bjørnøya

SVALBARD’S FIRST OFFICIAL COVID-19 CASE: Russian fisherman on vessel near Bjørnya briefly hospitalized in Longyearbyen; officials not worried about risk to others


It’s official: the first COVID-19 case in Svalbard was recorded this week when a Russian fisherman who was ill aboard a vessel near Bjørnøya was transported to Longyearbyen Hospital for about 13 hours before being sent to the mainland for treatment of the virus. Local and health officials said they do not believe his presence will risk having the disease spread to others in the archipelago.

MISSILES LOADED FOR BEAR: Warning issued for Russian multiple-missile test in international waters just south of Bjørnøya, in response to U.S. deploying bombers to Norway


Russia is planning to express its “dissatisfaction” with the U.S. deploying Air Force bombers to Norway for the first time by conducting a multiple-missile test sometime during the next week with the impact area in a block of open sea just south of Bjørnøya, according to official and media reports.

The test in what’s classified as the “bear gap” by Western defense entities is scheduled between Feb. 18-24, according to a “notice to airman” warning issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

COVID-19 INFECTS CREW ON COAST GUARD SHIP IN SVALBARD: One person tests positive, other 61 quarantined following voyage that picked up researchers at Bjørnøya


One crew member aboard the Norwegian Coast Guard’s KV Andenes has tested positive for COVID-19 and the other 61 aboard will be placed in quarantine following a voyage in Svalbard that began July 24 and picked up a group of Norwegian Polar Institute researchers at Bjørnøya, the coast guard announced in a press release Wednesday evening.

HOW SVALBARD’S ‘OTHERS’ ARE FARING: Pretty much ‘normal’ at hysterically cool Bjørnøya film fest, two women self-isolating all winter at trappers’ hut, no layoffs in Barentsburg


While 90 percent of Longyearbyen’s tourism employees are facing layoffs, all of those in Barentsburg and Pyramiden are busy and planning for the summer season. Life in the international research community of Ny-Ålesund continued normally with the obvious health precautions. Those on a research ship frozen in the ice far to the north are going about daily life normally, but anxious about the virus cutting off incoming staff and support.

Then there’s the tiny Bjørnøya Meteorological Station at the southern tip celebrating its annual film festival despite problems caused by “hysterically clear and fine weather” and black-market tickets. And two women well into nine months of “self-isolation” at a remote trapper’s hut who just celebrated a birthday and are blogging sympathies to those elsewhere following their adventures.

Svalbard Daily Planet for the week of July 28-Aug. 3, 2019


Direct flights to/from Greenland’s northernmost tip, summer hotel stays down for the first time since 2013, Svalbard Vet now offers 24/7 care and more recent headlines from mainstream local and global media.

NUCLEAR RADIATION LEAK AT BJØRNØYA? Norwegian and Russian scientists visiting site where Russian nuclear sub sunk in 1989 to determine possible leakage


Thirty years ago the Russian nuclear submarine Komsomolets sank southwest of Bjørnøya after a fire broke out in the wheelhouse, killing 42 people aboard. On Sunday a team of Norwegian and Russian researchers departed Tromsø to visit the site and determine if radiation is leaking from the nuclear reactor and warheads within the vessel 1,700 meters beneath the surface.

Border petrol: New drilling areas within 30km of Bjørnøya has oil companies, environmentalists feeling highly energetic


Norway’s newest oil drilling areas are almost literally as close to Svalbard as possible, creating the archipelago’s version of a border debate. Those approaching are harboring dreams of the richest economic opportunity in the region, while defenders of the homeland are enraged about the drastic problems that might result from mass migration.

Nine new drilling licenses for 47 blocks in the Barents Sea were unveiled by the Norwegian government Monday, with the closest block about 30 kilometers to the east and just barely south of Bjørnøya. A total of six blocks extend the 74 degrees latitude north – the same as Bjørnøya – and another 27 are at or beyond 73 degrees.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of May 22, 2018


Polar bear spotted near Longyearbyen wanders off, but officials keeping watch
A polar bear spotted near Longyearbyen late Tuesday night wandered away from town a few hours later, but officials are continuing to monitor the area in case the animal returns, police said Wednesday.

In-the-red storm rising: Meteorological institute may eliminate staff at Hopen station, majority at Bjørnøya due to deficits


Eliminating five of the nine employees at the Bjørnøya Meteorological Station and automating operations at the Hopen station where four people now work is being considered by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute to help cope with a long-term deficit, according to the agency’s director.

Dead men do tell tales: Archaeologists ‘solve’ mysterious death on Bjørnøya with elementary clues, Sherlock


It could be the ideal setting for CSI Svalbard, except these deadly mysteries are taking considerable longer than 60 minutes to solve.