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Monday, June 17, 2024

Ship tunnel plans swamped

An unusual plan to dig a maritime tunnel for ships through a peninsula on Norway’s stormy western coast have been swamped, at least for now. The local fishing industry and seafarers aren’t giving up yet.

The plan has been on the charts for several years, and involves digging a 1.7-kilometer-long tunnel between the Molde Fjord and Kjødepollen on the northeast east side of Stadhalvøya. That’s the peninsula leading out to Norway’s West Cape, where the waters are known for being among the most treacherous.

The ambitious tunnel would literally allow vessels to sail through the peninsula, instead of around it, sparing boats and ships the risk of grounding in a storm or even worse. Local boosters also think the tunnel would be a tourist attraction, not least if it was built wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the Hurtigruten passenger vessels that ply the coast.

But news bureau NTB reported last week that Kystverket, which administers coastal affairs in Norway, has sunk the plans, saying it’s not so dangerous to sail around Stad anymore. They can’t justify the costs involved, either. If any tunnel is eventually built, they say, it would be small and only able to accommodate fishing boats or pleasure craft.

Some local captains bemoaned the decision, and hope local seafarers and officials can mobilize in an effort to get the authorities to change their minds.

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