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TRAVEL NEWS

Ferry services between Norway and Denmark cut back due to fuel prices 

Two of ferry company Fjordline’s boats will stop sailing between Stavanger, Bergen and Langesund in Norway and Hirtshals in Denmark between February and May. 

Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.
Ferry services between Norway and Denmark will be affected between February and May. Pictured is a stock photo of a ferry cabin.Photo by Henry Bauer on Unsplash

Some 36,000 passengers who had already booked tickets to travel on either the MS Stavangerfjord or the MS Bergensfjord services have had their trips cancelled.

Newspaper Bergens Tidende reports that the services will not run throughout the spring due to rising fuel costs.

The ferries currently run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which has increased in price ten-fold, according to Fjordline CEO Brian Thorsted Hansen. 

The two ships being taken out of service will be converted to run-on marine gas oils (MGO), which have also increased in price- but not to the extent of liquefied natural gas. 

“Due to the energy crisis in Europe and very high gas prices, Fjord Line will rebuild its two ships which are currently powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). The conversion means that the ships will be able to switch between LNG and MGO as fuel, so that we ensure an economically sustainable operation also in the period until LNG prices normalise,” Fjordline writes on its website

Customers who had booked to travel on the services will be offered a refund, travel vouchers to be used with Fjordline, or the opportunity to be rebooked at a later date. 

MS Stavangerfjord sails Bergen-Stavanger-Hirtshals, MS Bergensfjord Hirtshals-Langesund. Neither of the routes will be operated between February 8th and May 25th. Fjordline has said that its Kristiansand-Hirtshals will run as normal from March 31st. 

Full service on all its routes to Denmark will not resume until June 17th, Fjordline writes on its website. 

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TRANSPORT

Danish cargo bike owners advised against using suspended brand

An advisory board for consumers in Denmark has advised owners of Babboe cargo bicycles to leave them at home for the time being.

Danish cargo bike owners advised against using suspended brand

Project leader with consumer rights organisation Forbrugerrådet Tænk, Stine Müller, has advised against using the bikes. The cargo bikes have three wheels and a large box on the front, in which children or an adult can sit.

The advice from Müller comes after Babboe on Thursday suspended sales of its own products in Denmark with immediate effect, after concerns were raised over safety.

The Danish Safety Technology Authority (Sikkerhedsstyrelsen) has, based on information published on Babboe’s website, also advised the public in Denmark to follow the company’s recommendation not to use its products for the time being.

“Consumers should comply with this announcement and leave the cargo bikes parked until we know more about what the problem is with them,” Müller said.

“It can obviously be frustrating as a bicycle owner to be told this, but we urge people to comply with it,” she said.

Babboe, whose distinctive wooden box designs are distinctive on Danish bike lanes, has been informed that Dutch food and product safety authority NVWA has been in contact with the company’s Netherlands supplier, regarding insufficient documentation of safety permits.

NVWA said in a press statement that it had ordered Babboe to stop sales of its cargo bikes and recall the bicycles, which have a “serious safety risk”.

The Danish Safety Technology Authority (Sikkerhedsstyrelsen) has been made aware of the situation by Babboe’s distributor in Denmark, according to news wire Ritzau.

Babboe in Denmark meanwhile said it had not received any reports or indications of safety issues with the bikes in the Nordic country.

“If you have experienced problems with the bike, it’s completely fine to report this to the Safety Technology Authority, which is the authority that will look at this kind of thing in Denmark. They can then take all the information into account,” Müller said.

News wire Ritzau reports that NVWA launched an investigation in late 2023 after the company received several reports of broken frames on Babboe products.

In 2019, the company recalled the “City” model of cargo bike due to a potential frame defect, and replaced around 20 frames after detecting 61 defects, according to Ritzau.

Faulty frames are potentially a serious safety concern because passengers can fall out of the boxes if they fail while in motion, the Dutch authority has pointed out following its assessment.

The cargo bikes may be sold again in the Netherlands when their safety has been sufficiently documented, the authority also said.

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