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Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen, Norway, the northernmost island on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has 113 square kilometers covered by glaciers, about 30 percent of its total area. Norweigan personnel operate the Long Range Navigation (Loran-C) base and the weather and coastal services radio station. The island is surrounded by pack ice during winter and spring, although the ice retreats west of the island during the summer.

Crew as of 2015 was a total of 18, running the Loran-C navigation station, the meteorological station and maintaining the infrastructure - buildings, roads, airstrip, power station and so on. Norway maintains land, naval and air forces (which in relation to the country's resources must be regarded as considerable). In 2016, the Norwegian Loran C chain closed, but the station at Jan Mayen continued to operate. Eighteen people spend the winter on the island, but the population may double (35) during the summer, when heavy maintenance is performed. Personnel serve either six months or one year, and are exchanged twice a year in April and October.

One element of Norwegian defence operations in this region is the organization of a Home Guard unit in Jan Mayen, composed of local personnel, which trains regularly. A mainland Army mobilization unit is deployed for manoeuvres in Jan Mayen on the same regular rotation pattern as other reserve units.

Jan Mayen is a volcanic island with no exploitable natural resources, although surrounding waters contain substantial fish stocks and potential untapped petroleum resources. Economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Norway's radio and meteorological stations on the island.

Jan Mayen is a landmass which is situated on a ridge of continental crust which has separated from the Greenland landmass and now forms a mid-ocean micro-continent. The hydrocarbon potential of the shelf areas of the Jan Mayen ridge continental shelf has been recognized, and has been the object of systematic investigations. The evaluation of the hydrocarbon potential of this area has not been finally determined.

Visited only occasionally by seal hunters and trappers over the following centuries, the island came under Norwegian sovereignty in 1929.

In 1959, the meteorological station was joined by a new facility offering long-range radio navigation (the "LORAN A" and "LORAN C") services. Originally reserved for military use, these navigation services were later opened to al1 ships and aircraft. From 1970 to 1985, a facility for Consol radio navigation service was in operation.

Al1 these facilities are at present maintained with an aggregate staff of 25 persons. The radio navigation services are operated by the Norwegian Defence Communications and Data Services Administration ("NODECA"). Modern housing is provided. A coastal radio service is available, and is widely used by fishermen in the area. This service makes it possible to maintain ship-to-shore communications with individual telephone subscribers in mainland Norway. In addition to the safety factor and the technical and emergency services provided, the coastal radio station provides considerable social services for fishermen.

Since 1962, the island has had a landing field which is capable of handling large transport aircraft. There is a regular service by military aircraft (C-130 Hercules), which permits personnel transfers and light cargo deliveries. Civilian aircraft provide mail services. The landing field provides an additional possibility for search and rescue operations, and for giving emergency evacuation and medical assistance.

Bulk supplies are brought in by ship. Permanent harbor works have been proposed, but despite strong support from fishermen, it has not been possible to give financial priority to the construction of a permanent, all-weather port.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2017 18:08:13 ZULU