Large ships may be banned in the protected areas of Svalbard

More foreigners and fewer Norwegians SvalbardSvalbard airport.Photo wikipedia.org

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In order to preserve the natural wilderness of Svalbard, the government will regulate traffic, and is now considering several measures such as size restrictions on ships.

“We have mapped the challenges the development in the travel industry poses for environment, safety and preparedness. Against this backdrop, the government will consider making the heavy oil ban a general ban, as well as imposing size restrictions on ships in the protected areas,” said Public Security Minister Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde (FrP/Progress Party) in a press release.

She adds that the government will also investigate the possibility of limiting the scope of tourism activity on the archipelago for emergency and security reasons.

Every year, the cruise industry brings a large number of visitors to Svalbard’s wilderness areas. The large cruise ships can carry thousands of passengers, and when it comes to safety, there is a great distance to emergency resources. For environmental considerations, it is pointed out that cruise ships often use heavy oil. In addition, the environment in Svalbard is particularly vulnerable due to climate change, and this vulnerability increases with increased traffic.

“It is now necessary to protect the natural wilderness and cultural heritage values of Svalbard from the increased overall burden from both tourism and climate change. I will therefore consider several appropriate and targeted measures to protect wildlife, nature and cultural heritage,” says Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen (Venstre/Liberal Party).

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