No removal of Russian shipwreck on Bear Island

The cargo vessel Petrozavodsk will not be removed from Bear Island (Photo: Kystverket)

The wreck of the Russian transport vessel “Petrozavodsk” will not be removed from the remote Bear Island in the Arctic. Norwegian authorities consider a removal too dangerous.


The Norwegian Coastal Administration has inspected the wreck and concluded that a removal cannot be done on safety reasons:

- The wreck lies beneath a steep cliff with frequent rock slides. We consider it too dangerous to enter the wreck to prepare it for removal, says Johan Marius Ly in the coastal administration to NRK.

The ship-owner has earlier been instructed to remove the wreck, but this order has now been withdrawn. All dangerous substances have already been removed.

Petrozavodsk” ran aground right in the middle of the breeding area of large sea bird colonies in May 2009. Both the captain and mate of the vessel were charged for breaking the Maritime Code by drinking while on duty. Satellite tracks showed that the vessel held steady course straight towards the shore, as BarentsObserver reported.

Bear Island is home to the largest bird colony on the Northern hemisphere, with some 1.5 million nesting birds. The island has been a nature reserve since 2011.

Right after the accident, dead and injured seabirds were found near the vessel, which had 54 cubic meters of oil as well as other petroleum substances on board.

Watch video from the site on NRK (in Norwegian)