Norwegian Activists Blockade Ferry to Prevent Wind Farm Construction

Arnfinn Von Fyhren Horne / Facebook

Published May 28, 2020 7:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

Over the past week, a group of residents in Haramsøya, Norway have repeatedly blockaded a local ferry in order to prevent wind farm construction vehicles from passing. The protesters oppose the installation of a new nine-turbine onshore wind farm on top of a nearby plateau.

On May 19, ferry operations on Norled's Skjelten route were briefly disrupted when activists blocked the disembarkation of construction vehicles. Service was quickly restored. A similar action occurred on Tuesday, and the activist group upped the stakes by boarding the ferry directly. The group organizing the event, "No to Wind Turbines on Haramsøya," said that the boarding was a spontaneous act by ordinary local people. The crowd cleared and normal operations resumed shortly after. 

"Many people have reported boarding the ferry in Haramsøya," wrote the police for Møre og Romsdal in an update. "This poses a danger to both the protesters, crew and passengers." 

The blockade recurred on Thursday with about 50 people (out of the total local population of 900) in attendance. After it ended, a group of residents blockaded the road up the mountainside with a vehicle. 

Posted by Håkon Akselsen on Thursday, May 28, 2020
Posted by Håkon Akselsen on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Images courtesy Nei Til Vindkraftverk Pa Haramsøya / Facebook

The advocacy group is suing to reverse the project's approval by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, alleging improper permitting processes. Ultimately, organizer Birgit Oline Kjerstad told local media, the approval process should better reflect local input. 

Construction is set to begin on June 2, according to developer Zephyr. 

"After a thorough licensing process, Haram Kraft has been allowed to expand because it considers the benefits to be greater than the disadvantages. As builders, we hope for a good and open dialogue with everyone who is involved locally," said Olav Rommetveit, CEO of Zephyr, in a statement Thursday. "The location of the turbines has changed . . . which will contribute to less visibility, noise and impact."