Monday, December 11, 2017
Stad tunnel entrance

Ever since I visited Norway I have heard the locals speak in awe and fear of the rounding of Stad, the only part of the Norwegian coast where coast hugging shipping must face the full fetch of the North Atlantic.

In the days before frequent and more affordable aircraft and long distance efficient motor roads, the coastal express boat, the Hurtigrute, was indeed the means by which the country was held together. Young people took the boat to further education and university, or for work in the industries and offices of the southern cities and often to travel on to other parts of Scandinavia. Thousands would take the boat going north on their National service, whether in the military or on the community service alternative. But they all had to round Stad and often suffer the worst sea sickness on the whole of the coast from Oslo to the Russian border.

Kråkenes lighthouse, just south of Stad, is the meteorological weather station with the most annual storm days, which can be anything from 45 to 106 days pa. The combination of wind, currents, waves and subsea topography makes this section a particular challenge. Heavy and confused seas with very high waves can create critical situations, effects that can linger days after wind has died down. So, fantastic as it seems, a tunnel has been talked of for years to permit ships to avoid Stad by taking a detour inland and linking a couple of small but strategic fjords. But it is no longer fantastic.

Regular callers by sea to Bergen will be aware that just to the south near the inshore sheltered shipping channel, there is a huge rock blasted cavern built to accommodate naval ships including subs and missile boats. And anyone who has witnessed the expertise of Norwegian engineers and tunnelers who have spent billions of kronor straightening out roads and bypassing ferry bottlenecks by tunnelling under fjords and through mountains, have come to recognise it is very feasible indeed for them to build a ship tunnel while their carefully husbanded oil and gas wealth ensures it can be afforded.

Even though a smaller scale tunnel could be more easily built for the fast-boat catamaran type passenger ferry which is held up by Stad weather rather more often than the Hurtigrute vessels, it seems the Norwegian authorities are insisting it will accommodate the larger daily Hurtigruten ships en voyage Bergen-Kirkenes and return.

And the tunnel is bound to be a ‘modern maritime wonder of the world’. Bearing in mind the Hurtigruten is sold to ever increasing numbers of international cruise passengers as the ‘world’s most beautiful voyage’, the tunnel will have the benefit of making that voyage less weather prone, so more comfortable, and the tunnel passage - along with the scenery, midnight sun, Northern Lights and North Cape - will be yet another very marketable experience.

In short, it would ensure the voyage becomes even more attractive and that makes the expensively subsidised Hurtigrute fleet of passenger, cargo and mail ships more viable long term. It is also stated the tunnel will reduce the risk of potentially major accidents due to weather and reduce delays and damage endured by Norway’s strategic coastal transport seaway.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration is responsible for exploring the cost and potential of operating the world’s first full scale ship tunnel before the final goahead is granted by the Norwegian government. One billion kronor has initially been earmarked, the detailed work-up of the project to start after 2018. The Ship Tunnel would go from Vanylsfjorden in the north to Moldefjorden because this is where the Stad peninsula is at its narrowest and ships will also be sheltered from excessive winds, making it possible to use the ship tunnel in most weather conditions.

It will be 1.7 kms long, with 37 metres headroom, a height between ground and ceiling of 49ms, and channel 26.5 metres wide, 36ms wall to wall. 7.5mn tonnes of rock or 1,625 mn cubic metres will need removing. Construction might only take fi ve years. Norwegians being the businessmen and women they are, I would be surprised if they didn’t export the rock to the continent and Britain and make a profit from it…! We will return to this as the project progresses.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - May 2017 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

GMS Expedition

Most Popular

  • 1
  • 2

Top 10 Books and DVDs 2017

Maritime Log

  • Falklands War Successor is Broken Up +

    Atlantic Conveyor A ship that was built on the Tyne for the Cunard Steam-Ship Co, of Liverpool, to replace one that was Read More
  • Historic Lifeboat Returns Home +

    Bedford A historic lifeboat has returned home to Tyneside after a number of local businesses joined local government to save her. Read More
  • Anchor Catches Torpedo +

    Skaw Provider When the crew of the Maltese-flag oil/chemical tanker Skaw Provider, 4,300dwt, raised the anchor from 15m off Portland, Dorset, they Read More
  • Side-By-Side Supply Ships Sink +

    The Maersk Searcher and Maersk Shipper. (DMAIB) A unique conjunction of events and circumstances led to the sinking of two Maersk offshore supply vessels in December, 2016, Read More
  • Historic Voyage Between China and Russia +

    Lian Hua Song The cargo ship Lian Hua Song (pictured) 20,692gt, of the COSCO Shipping Line, China, arrived at St Petersburg, Russia, in Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Bid To Curb Act And Boost Aid To Island +

    Horizon Spirit As Puerto Rico recovers from the series of devastating hurricanes this season, it has been claimed that the Jones Act Read More
  • ‘Best Trading Months’ in History of Long Beach +

    Port Of Long Beach Records were broken in September when the Port of Long Beach, California, moved more containers than in any other September Read More
  • Hudson's Biggest +

    Steam generator The two-day, 170-mile delivery from the Port of Coeymans near Albany, New York of a new 130-foot high steam generator Read More
  • "Friendship of Salem" to Return This Winter +

    Friendship of Salem The Salem Maritime National Historic Site announced agreement on contract changes for the ongoing overhaul of the three-masted, 171-foot Friendship Read More
  • You're Fired! +

    USS John S McCain After a grounding, three collisions and multiple deaths, Vice Adm Joseph Aucoin was relieved of command of the US Navy’s Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Stranded Cargo Ship to be Refloated and Broken Up +

    Kea Trader The container ship Kea Trader, 24,720gt, which went aground on a reef off New Caledonia on July 12, will have Read More
  • Italian Builders to Construct in Australia +

    Fincantieri The Italian shipbuilder and ship designer Fincantieri is to construct sections for cruise ships and frigates in Australia from next Read More
  • Fifteen LNG Carriers For Siberia Project +

    LNG Ice Breaker (DSME) A South Korean company has received a contract to build 15 ice-breaking LNG carriers for Russia, the president of South Read More
  • Asia/Australasia Container Traffic Slumps +

    Drewry Report Container traffic from Asia to Australasia suffered its first quarterly slump in at least five years, falling by 11 per Read More
  • First Order from Taiwan +

    Austal The fast ferry builder Austal Ships, of Henderson, Western Australia, has won its first commercial vessel contract in Taiwan. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • New Oiler for Canada +

    Asterix Canadian News The Royal Canadian Navy’s long wait for a new replenishment oiler for the fleet is nearly at an Read More
  • HMS Queen Elizabeth Arrives at Home Port +

    HMS Queen Elizabeth British News An event following the 2010 Defence Review many thought would never happen occurred on Wednesday 16 August when Read More
  • Work Starts on Three Warships +

    Type 25 British News After an almost unseemly wait, the Royal Navy can breathe again having held its breath waiting for the Read More
  • Los Angeles Class Decommissioning +

    USS Dallas American News The end of May saw a lot of submarine news within the US Navy with the decommissioning of Read More
  • HMS Westminster Returns to Service +

    HMS Westminster British News After two years out of service undergoing a major reconstruction and refit, the Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Nostalgic Scout Trip Remembered +

    South Shields Scouts A morale boosting and nostalgic story from not long after WW2 came to my notice. Read More
  • Morale Boost for CalMac +

    Glen Sannox The major new units of CalMac’s West of Scotland fleet taking shape at Port Glasgow are to bear the much Read More
  • Summer Scenes - Naples +

    GNV Cristal So when arriving at Naples, we now meet the ex Olau Hollandia ex Pride of Le Havre ex SNAV Sardegna, Read More
  • Summer Scenes - Barcelona +

    Abel Matutes As we head through Autumn – or ‘the Fall’ as our North American readers would put it – and some of the Read More
  • Excursion Woes +

    Waverley The excursion business, especially with the preserved classic vessels, has continued to have major disappointments. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • From Rix To Stevie Clarkes +

    “Ronrix” leaving for Hull The name Rix is long associated with Humber ports with origins traced to Hull businessman Captain Robert Rix in the Read More
  • Energy Needs +

    Northern Ocean Charlie McCurdy’s fine image of the Faeroese products tanker Northern Ocean 8,594,’98 passing Greenock, on her way from the fuel Read More
  • Staple Trades - Clay +

    Moelfre Rose Before leaving the economically confused days of 2017, I thought I would remind ourselves of some of the staple trades Read More
  • Colne Racing +

    Edme The 46th Colne Smack and Barge Match was sailed from Brightlingsea on September 2 in a very light southerly breeze Read More
  • West Coast Restorations +

    CA Thayer From the day they are launched, every ship has a life expectancy. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • TMG Delivers Influential Panama Canal Study +

    MSC Antalya A global maritime consultancy has carried out a pivotal assessment review of tugboat operations in the new third set of Read More
  • The Majestic River Rhine +

    MS Charles Dickens In September of this year, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Riviera Travel river cruise on the majestic River Read More
  • Video Campaign for New Seafarers +

    To Sea or Not to Sea In an aim to plug the shortfall in numbers of British seafarers, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the Merchant Read More
  • Solent Marine Safety Academy +

    Firefighters Any initiative that helps improve safety at sea and the betterment of the skills set of seafarers in reacting to Read More
  • Forth Bridges - The New Queensferry Crossing +

    Forth Bridges At the end of August 2017, the new Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Curaçao’s Colours and Bridges +

    Queen Emma Bridge Many ports of the world that attract cruise traffic are well known for certain iconic aspects that they possess. Read More
  • Shaw Savill and Albion’s New Build ‘Game Changer’ +

    Southern Cross Shaw Savill and Albion’s new build in 1955, the Southern Cross, was a remarkable vessel for a number of reasons. Read More
  • Britain's Boat Builders are Buoyant +

    British Sunseeker 95 Yacht Brand new industry reports, prepared by British Marine, show that Britain’s boat builders are buoyant and riding the crest of Read More
  • Project Echo +

    Project Echo Having recently delivered the 46m composite catamaran yacht support vessel, Charley, to the owners of the superyacht White Rabbit Golf, Read More
  • Two Unique Ships Meet In Douglas Bay +

    Sega Sapphire and Talitha When Hapag-Lloyd’s new build, the Europa (3), was delivered to the company in 1981, the vessel very quickly was awarded Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

John Readhead & Sons

The Role of the Yard Pilot

Anyone who has attended a ship launch will forever remember the thrill of the occasion as the vessel begins its Read More
Duke of Lancaster

TSS Duke of Lancaster

A Typical Summer Sailing From Heysham Harbour – 50 Years Ago Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Low Walker

The Mysterious Ways

When I started work at Low Walker, a Newcastle on Tyne engineering company which was located right next to the Read More
Imo

The Halifax Explosion

On 29th December, 1950, Cairnesk put into Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the first call of the ‘winter schedule’. Read More
  • 1
  • 2