Seafarers ‘hostage’ to the Corona crisis

Norway, as a maritime nation, is expressing official concern over how more than 200,000 seafarers around the world remain stranded on their vessels because many countries won’t allow crew changes. Norwegian shipowners are referring to both officers and crew as “hostages” of the Corona crisis. Bengt Ellingsund, a Norwegian officer on board the Odfjell vessel […]

Last chapter for iconic ‘book boat’

Politicians in the newly-merged Vestland county in western Norway have decided that a unique floating library known as Epos will never again bring books, plays and other fun to children in remote coastal areas. The bitterly criticized decision to shut it down mirrors the complexities of Norway’s controversial regional reform. “This is a scandalous cultural […]

Tanker market turns for the worse

Just a week after tanker ship owners were raking in enormous profits by chartering their vessels for oil storage, the market has suddenly turned against them as demand for oil continues to fall. Share prices in Norwegian companies like Nordic American Tankers (NAT) and Frontline have plunged since hitting new highs just last Monday. “The […]

Hurtigruten demands crisis aid

Norway’s venerable coastal voyage line Hurtigruten, now mostly a cruiseline, was sailing full steam ahead until the Corona virus crisis forced most of its vessels into lay-up and cut off revenue. Now it doesn’t qualify for the emergency aid offered by the government, because its credit rating has been severely downgraded. “It’s a paradox that we, […]

Plastic pellet spill tied to container ship

Weeks after millions of small white plastic pellets started washing up on the shoreline of the Oslo Fjord, the source of the spill has likely been identified: a container on board a ship that sprung a leak. “We view it as highly probable that a damaged container spilled the pellets during a voyage,” Ole Sævild […]

Cruise ‘visionary’ dies at age 90

Norwegian shipowner Arne Wilhelmsen, one of the founders of the large international Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), died over the Easter holiday weekend with much of the cruise industry he helped form in turmoil. Wilhelmsen was 90, and among the last of the shipping pioneers who nurtured a cruise industry that’s currently in crisis because […]

Stena’s ferry to Denmark shut down

Stena Line of Sweden has permanently shut down its passenger- and ferry service between Oslo and Fredrikshavn in Denmark, after more the 40 years of operation. All employees on board plus Stena’s roughly 30 staff members in Oslo are losing their jobs. “We calculated that we’d miss the high season this summer (because of Corona […]

Hurtigruten halts most all sailings

Norway’s famed coastal voyage line known as Hurtigruten has taken 14 of its 16 vessels out of service and cut its weekly sailings between Bergen and Kirkenes to a minimum. An additional 2,600 employees have been laid off, with the shipping line citing “an extraordinary crisis.” Just two weeks after Hurtigruten’s chief executive Daniel Skjeldam […]

Operators cancel cruises and ferries

Color Line has cancelled its cruise-ferry service between Oslo and Kiel, Germany for the next two weeks, the company announced on Friday. The decision was made the day after Norwegian authorities imposed strict preventive measures against the spread of the Corona virus, including detailed screening of passengers arriving from abroad. The move come just hours […]

Media struggle with shipowner’s suicide

NEWS ANALYSIS: The death last week of Norwegian shipowner Wilhelm Wilhelmsen continues to stir interest, not least after it became known that he took his own life. Norwegian media outlets have a long tradition of not reporting suicides, however, and have thus remained mostly mum even as questions swirl about what will happen to the […]