Storm stops ferries, swamps boats

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Strong winds and high seas forced cancellation of high-speed ferries between southern Norway and northern Denmark on Wednesday. Boat owners, meanwhile, faced a chaotic situation, especially around Fredrikstad.

Winds had died down in the Oslo area Wednesday morning, but Norwegians all over the southern part of the country were mopping up after the storm on Tuesday that brought heavy rainfall and high water levels.

Cancellations and delays
Late Tuesday night, it became clear that neither Color Line nor Fjord Line would be able to run their scheduled routes between Kristiansand and Hirtshals Wednesday morning, reported the online news service for newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.

Color Line cancelled the 8am departure of its SuperSpeed 1 ferry to Hirtshals along with its 1pm return trip, while Fjord Lines cancelled the 8:45am departure of its fast ferry Fjord Cat. Both ferry lines determined that the weather was too stormy to set off. Fjord Lines’ routes to Bergen and Stavanger were delayed because of the bad weather.

Color Line also cancelled its Tuesday night departure from Hirtshals in Denmark up to Larvik, about a two-hour drive south of Oslo, and its short but popular ferry route between Sandefjord and Norway and Strömstad in Sweden was also cancelled.

Boatowners’ nightmare
Meanwhile, just north of Stömstad and over the border in Norway, boats were washed up on rocks, swamped and scattered over large areas after rising water levels proved more powerful than their moorings.

“The boats are breaking away from their berths and then floating away,” Pål Bustgaard of the rescue vessel Horn Flyer told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We just rescued our third sailboat and now have a report that 16 boats have broken away from a harbour on Hvaler.”

The scene at the Fjeldberg boat harbor in Fredrikstad was described as “very bad” as flooding carried away outdoor furnishings, swamped floating docks and left boats scattered over a wide area. Several homes and businesses also reported flooding.

“It gets really chaotic when autumn storms set in as early as this,” Bustgaard told NRK. “Folks hadn’t started thinking about getting their boats up on land.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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