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Monday, July 15, 2024

Drunks threaten border control

Border police and security personnel on board ferries between Norway and Denmark are facing problems trying to carry out Norway’s tough new border control procedures. Many of the passengers are too drunk to find their identification and travel documents, or answer border patrol officers’ questions.

Police say it's been difficult to carry out border control procedures on drunk passengers stumbling off ferries like Color Line's "SuperSpeed2." PHOTO: Wikipedia
Police say it’s been difficult to carry out border control procedures on drunk passengers stumbling off ferries like Color Line’s “SuperSpeed2.” PHOTO: Wikipedia

It’s holiday party season in both Norway and Denmark, and the ferries are a popular place to celebrate. Thousands of Norwegians sail back and forth on the ferries to take advantage of the tax-free merchandise and especially drinks offered on board. Their tendency to drink far too much may now pose a threat to national security.

Drunkenness and violent behaviour have long been a problem resulting from over-indulgence in tax-free beverages, but now the passenger intoxication is creating new and serious challenges. Border patrol officers in the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand, for example, say it’s making border patrol very difficult.

“One of the passengers had to be put in handcuffs and arrested, after assaulting a security guard,” Jan Vidar Ødegaard, section leader for the local police district in Kristiansand, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday. He said one drunk woman fell while staggering down the boarding ramp and had to be picked up by an ambulance crew.

Other drunk passengers grow impatient while standing in line and fail to follow the orders of police and customs officials.

“We’re surprised by how many are intoxicated,” Ødegaard told NRK. “Under such circumstances, we don’t have the possibility to carry out border patrol of high-enough quality.”

Police have criticized the excessive quantities of alcoholic beverages that passengers apparently have been served on board ferries like Color Line’s SuperSpeed, which runs between Kristiansand and Hirtshals in Denmark. Police have thus taken contact with both Color Line management and the company’s security guard firm. Ødegaard said he was told that officials on board the ferry stopped serving drinks a half-hour before normal closing time on one sailing this past weekend, because so many passengers were highly intoxicated.

Helge Otto Mathisen, director of communications at Color Line, told NRK that the ferry company needed to gather more information regarding the situation on board the vessel before commenting. He claimed, however, that bartenders on board the ferries receive regular training regarding the rules for serving and when to stop. Berglund



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