UPDATED: The village of Geiranger on the World Heritage-listed Geirangerfjord was evacuated and searched on Thursday aftenoon, after the coast guard (Kystverket) increased its readiness level to two. The action followed a warning by national police and security authorities that they’d received credible information about a terrorist attack against Norway in the coming days.
The harbour was closed, affecting car ferries and tourist cruise liners, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “When the coast guard lifts the readiness level to level two, then an inspection of the dock must be carried out,” said the local police acting chief of staff John Kåre Flo. “When they had completed that, the ferries could go in.”
He said the closure was according to procedure. “The harbour had to be inspected, and that took time, but everything is now back to a normal situation there,” Flo said. Nothing was discovered in the search of the harbour area, and people were allowed to re-board their ships.
Ole Bjørn Harang from Sunnmøre police district said it caused mayhem in the popular tourist town, which had to be fully evacuated. “It is truly chaos times 10 there,” he told NRK during the evacuation. “Not least because of the coast guard. There are a lot of people now – in the middle of the best vacation time.”
The coast guard said more than 600 Norwegian harbours are approved for international traffic, but not all were operational. Nevertheless, every single harbour had to implement its own local preparedness plan at level two, and some were temporarily closed. “It means measures like strengthened access control, stronger control of freight and so on,” communications director Solveig Moe Frøland told newspaper Aftenposten.
Ports were to remain at level two until they were otherwise notified by the coast guard. While it meant ships at dock would have to adhere to the heightened security rules, Frøland said ship traffic would for the most part go as normal.