Emergency drill goes as planned

Exercise Barents includes search and rescue operations. Photo shows "KV Harstad" and a Norwegian rescue helicopter involved in a similar exercise in 2013.

The annual Norwegian-Russian emergency drill “Exercise Barents” will be arranged as planned in the border areas in the Varanger Fjord in June.


Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Northern Norway in Bodø has not received any signals that the joint emergency drills on search and rescue and oil spill cleanup will be hit by Norway’s suspension of bilateral military activities with Russia, and preparations of the drills continue as planned, Director at JRCC Bent-Ove Jamtli says.

“The situation in Ukraine has resulted in some changes both concerning planned military activities with Russia and meetings on the political level, as referred by media. We have so far not had any signals that will lead to changes in exercise Barents 2014”, Jamtli says to BarentsObserver.

“The drills will include more or less the same scenarios as in earlier drills, but we still need to plan details.”

Exercise Barents has been conducted annually since the 1980-ies. The traditional main partners in these exercises are the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Northern Norway in Bodø and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Murmansk. Planning of the exercise alters between the two countries every year. This year’s exercise is planned by the Russian side and starts in Murmansk on June 2nd.

Both sides normally participate with military vessels or helicopters. In this year’s drills the coast guard vessels “KV Harstad” and “KV Farm” will take part from Norway, according to information from JRCC Northern Norway.

Cooperation between the rescue coordination centers in Bodø and Murmansk has also proved to be fruitful during real accidents. Norway has on several occasions saved Russian sailors in distress, even on Russian territory. In December 2007 twelve Russian sailors were saved from a sinking cargo vessel outside the Rybachi Peninsula by a Norwegian rescue helicopter. The Norwegian crew was later awarded with the Russian medal for noble deed.