Arctic Mass Rescue Operation shows good cooperation in the North

Arctic Mass Rescue Operation shows good cooperation in the North

Top image: A helicopter lifts passengers from the wrecked OV Bøkfjord in this mass rescue exercise. Photo: Anders Røeggen/Barentswatch.

There was a huge mass rescue exercise in Longyearbyen today. The Arctic Mass Rescue Operation (AMRO) was led by the Governor in Svalbard together with several national and local actors, including UNIS.

8 October 2021
Press release from the University Centre in Svalbard

There is a fire in a cruise ship with 181 people on board. The ship is located on the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. They must be rescued as soon as possible.

This is the scenario for today’s rescue exercise outside Longyearbyen. The scenario indicates that there are 60 nautical miles between the wrecked ship and Longyearbyen, while the exercise area was technically close to Longyearbyen.

The exercise is led by the Governor of Svalbard in close collaboration with the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Other actors in the exercise are the Norwegian Coast Guard, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Northern Norway, Lufttransport, Barentswatch, the University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen Local Council, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway, the 330 Squadron, UAS Norway and Longyearbyen Red Cross Auxiliary Corps.

Polar bear guard at Revneset in Adventfjorden

A UNIS polar bear guard takes care of the safety of volunteers and personnel at the emergency camp established at Revneset as part of the mass rescue exercise. Photo: Nora Hagesæther/Norsk Romsenter.

In addition there are 170 volunteers acting as passengers, among them students from UNIS. It was a perfect day for exercising, with a crisp -9°C and sunshine, but probably a bit chilly for the volunteers, who were first lifted by helicopter from the boat and transported to an emergency camp at Revneset across the fjord, before transported back to Longyearbyen.

The exercise concluded Friday afternoon and Saturday the involved actors will have a debrief and analysis of the exercise.

Helicopter landing outside UNIS

Helicopter with casualties landing outside UNIS. Photo: Maria Philippa Rossi


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