Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has met four Norwegian sailors on board ships around the world in a digital chat to show his support for their ongoing work. His Royal Highness wanted to thank the many Norwegian sailors who work every day to ensure that essential goods are transported during the ongoing pandemic.
About 80 % of the world’s retail trade is transported by sea. Crown Prince Haakon also met with representatives of the seafarers’ organizations and the shipping industry during the digital voyage. His Royal Highness said to the sailors: “Thank you for your efforts to keep society and the vessels going.
Director Harald Solberg of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association began the meeting by talking about how crucial ships are for us all to get what we need in everyday life, for industry and for energy production at sea. The Norwegian fleet is the world’s fourth largest in value and Norwegian shipping companies operate about 1800 ships and rigs worldwide.
Shipping was early defined as socially critical by the Norwegian authorities when the pandemic started last year. Many sailors from Norway are employed for long periods during the pandemic and are also quarantined for several periods as a result of infection control measures and travel restrictions. Challenges with land law refusal and crew changes were a recurring theme during the conversation with the Crown Prince.
The first who met digitally with the Norwegian Crown Prince was Captain Kjell Arne Hevrøy who attended the meeting from the chemical tanker Bow Excellence in the Atlantic Ocean, four days away from a port in South Carolina in the USA. Chief shop steward Kim Lekva Velve in Solstad Offshore, deck cadet Seline Henriksen on board Havila Subsea and chief engineer Per Rydheim on Hurtigruten Nordkapp also told about everyday life at sea and what extra challenges they have faced during the pandemic.
Crown Prince Haakon is currently the official regent of Norway after his father, King Harald, underwent a successful knee operation last weekend. Crown Prince Haakon will rule Norway as regent until and including Sunday 14 February, after which King Harald will resume his duties and hence also power as regent of Norway.