The Draken Harald Hårfagre, which began sailing in 2012, is 115 feet from stem to stern, 26-feet wide, has a 2,798-square foot silk sail, and a Douglas fir mast 79-feet tall. Built with over 10,000 nails and detailed ornamentation, the Harald Hårfagre, named after the first king of Norway, travels the world reminding everyone how epic the ancient Vikings were. It was funded by Sigurd Aase, a Norwegian oil and gas tycoon.
It reached America and then did something the Coastguard were not impressed by – it started charging for admission. That’s up to them of course – as they say, they need to fund the voyage, to eat.
But there is an American rule and I personally agree with it – that any commercial vessel, as distinct from a private vessel, has a whole host of regulations attached, for safety at sea reasons. And unlike land Elfansafetee, there’s the immediate danger of death at sea.
The coastguard insist the ship has a pilot. I know of pilots well – they’re the ones who keep you off sandbars and from being swept out by 10 knot tides. However, they charge like wounded bulls:
A ship’s pilot is a nice profession, with pilots typically charging $400 per hour. It’s estimated that the Harald Hårfagre would need $400,000 to cover its entire time in the Great Lakes. “The fees are just not possible for a project like Draken Harald Hårfagre to pay,” Aase, the chariman of Crudecorp, said in a statement. Although it is currently docked in Bay City, Michigan, if nothing changes, the ship plans to turn around and head back to Norway.
That’s as maybe but this is where my sympathy dissipates. Did they not do their homework or did they – horror of horrors – feel they could just sweep in on a wave of public adulation and sympathy and waive the rules everyone else abides by? Do you see a snowflake mind in Ms Sarah Blank, of the ship, who said:
“For us to have tickets, admissions or appearances, it’s not a commercial interest.”
Whaaaa? Unfortunately, this smacks so much to me of the type of statement we are fighting every day now, this leftist feeling that the rules are not for them. Have a referendum? Never mind, have another one.
In America, if you charge, you’re commercial. It’s exactly the same over here. If I do that or have 12 people, I’m commercial and come under a different set of regs. The fact that I’ll meet those anyway on my whim is neither here nor there.
I’m very sorry but they really should have done their homework. The article even tells them how to do it – call it donations. Which of course, would bring into question the Coastguard’s reasoning – are there not still safety factors? We’re talking harbour here, not open sea.