Norway's Government announced it is considering imposing a vessel size limitation on passenger ships cruising to Svalbard. An extension of the current location-specific ban on the use of HFO (heavy fuel oil) to cover all the waters around the Arctic archipelago is also being discussed. In a press release, the government stated they had examined how development in the travel industry caused for environmental and safety challenges.
The set of proposals were welcomed by the few thousand locals in the largest community on Svalbard, Longyearbyen, and Arctic expedition cruise ship operators. Local newspaper Svalbardposten reported everyone they spoke to in the town had supported the proposals.
Svalbard and Social Security Minister Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde said that against the background, the government would "consider making the heavy oil ban a general ban, as well as imposing size restrictions on ships in the protected areas."
The statement goes on to say that the government of Norway will also explore the possibility of limiting the tourism activity's scope on the archipelago for security and emergency reasons. The exact scope is yet to be revealed.