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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pilot conflict disrupts cruising

An ongoing labour conflict between harbor pilots and the state authority that employs them (Kystverket) has led to disruptions in this year’s cruiseship traffic. Now tourism officials fear Norway’s future as a major cruise destination may be in jeopardy.

The pilots are refusing to work overtime, meaning that several cruiseships have been delayed and some port calls have been dropped. The ports at Svolvær in scenic Lofoten and the Geiranger Fjord have been hit the hardest.

The conflict already has cost the tourism industry heavily, Arthur Kordt of European Cruise Service told newspaper Aftenposten. His firm is a major supplier of tourism services to the cruise lines that visit Norway. Environmental groups are also complaining, fearing that a lack of pilots can lead to accidents and oil spills.

Nearly 300 harbour pilots have been negotiating with Kystverket since last September without agreeing on a new contract. The pilots want a better shift system and so far haven’t received it.

In the meantime, some ships have been allowed to enter harbors without a pilot on board, while others are ordered to wait until a pilot is available. Kystverket officials claim cruiseships get priority.

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