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Photo: Torghatten Nord

Grave safety worries on Norway’s ferries

Nearly half of ferry employees say in a report that they would not be able to extinguish a fire if one was to break out.

Employees working aboard Norway’s ferries have expressed great concern over passengers’ safety, a new report says.

Nearly half – four out of every ten – of ferry personnel interviewed for the report believe it is unlikely or very unlikely they would be able to extinguish an onboard fire if one was to break out.

“In a crisis situation, we are left without a chance,” as one respondent puts it.

The online newspaper Nettavisen gained access to the report, which was prepared by the consulting company SafeTec on behalf of the Norwegian Maritime Officer’s Federation and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions.

Some shipmasters quoted in the report state that they have only four employees to evacuate 295 passengers.

“One shipmaster says that he is particularly scared if there are tankers carrying diesel, gasoline, gas or chemicals on board due to fire. This could result in explosions with ‘large destruction and loss of life’,” the report warns.

All hands on deck
The Norwegian Maritime Directorate, which is responsible for safety regulations on ferries, denies allegations in the report that it approves of having few employees on larger ferries, Norway Today reports.

“Safety is our main focus, and passengers have every reason to feel safe on board Norwegian ferries,” says the directorate’s acting director for vessels and seamen, Håvard Gåseidnes.

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