New search-and-rescue base for Norway’s northernmost city

Cargo ship at the harbour in Tromso, Norway. Credit: LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

The government of Norway recently announced that it is going to install a new search-and-rescue (SAR) base at Tromsø, on the country’s northern coast.

Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde, the country’s minister of public security, said that the safety resources already in place in the city – from fire brigades to medical infrastructure and specialised police squads – make it an ideal location for the new base.

The increased safety presence in the northern Norway will also result in greater mission capacities for missions in the nearby Norwegian and Barents seas. Currently, there are two other SAR bases in the region: one in Bodø and a SAR helicopter base at Banak airport in Finnmark.

Commercial shipping and tourist activity has increased in northern Norway in recent years, with melting ice presenting new business opportunities across a variety of sectors. Oil and gas drilling has also increased, as have naval presences following growing tensions between Russia and the West.

In its state budget for 2020, the Norwegian government also promised that improved high-frequency radio coverage will be developed to ensure two-way communication between ships in distress and rescuers. Tybring-Gjedde has proposed extending coverage in the waters all the way up to the North Pole.