Great concern for safety on Norwegian ferries

Ferry safety onboard ferriesHelgøy is a ferry belonging to Torghatten Nord. Photo: Torghatten Nord

Great concern for safety on Norwegian ferries from seamen

Personnel on Norwegian ferries are very concerned about the safety of passengers on board. “In a crisis situation, we are left without a chance”, according to several employees.

This emerges in a recent report that the consulting company Safetec has made on behalf of the Norwegian Maritime Officer’s Federation, the Maritime Seamen’s Federation and the Trade Union (LO), which Nettavisen has gained access to.

The report shows that four out of ten ferry employees believe it is unlikely or very unlikely that they will be able to extinguish a fire on board the ferry. Several of them state that they have little confidence in the contingency plans that have been prepared for crisis management. At the same time, some of the shipmasters state that they have only four employees to evacuate 295 passengers.

“One shipmaster says that he is particularly scared if there are tankers carrying diesel, gasoline, gas or chemicals on board at a fire. That could result in explosions with «large destruction and loss of life»,” the report states.

The Norwegian Maritime Directorate is responsible

The Norwegian Maritime Directorate is responsible for regulating the safety regulations on board the ferries. According to ferry workers, they largely approve plans with few employees on larger ferries. The directorate denies this.

“Safety is our main focus, and passengers have every reason to feel safe on board Norwegian ferries,” acting director for vessels and seamen, Håvard Gåseidnes claims.

It is often the county municipalities that are responsible for the bidding processes where it is decided who will operate the various ferry stretches. A representative for the county authorities states in the report that they do not interfere with what other agencies have to say regarding security, but are only concerned with obtaining the best price possible.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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