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Warship crew to honour isles' Norway bond

| Written by Chris Cope

The warship will leave on Monday morning after a series of events in Shetland. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News The warship will leave on Monday morning after a series of events in Shetland. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News A NORWEGIAN warship arrived in Lerwick on Friday as crew prepare to take part in ceremonial events in the isles to honour Shetland's bond with Norway.

The Thor Heyerdahl, which is berthed at Holmsgarth near to the Co-op supermarket, will also open its doors between 11am and 2.30pm on Saturday to allow the public to have a look around.

Commanding officer Daniel Thomasson at the bridge of the warship. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News Commanding officer Daniel Thomasson at the bridge of the warship. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

Commanding officer Daniel Thomassen said the visit of the 133m frigate was to once again show support for Norway's traditional ties with Shetland.

"We're just here for a friendly visit for the weekend," he said.

"When we're out sailing we sometimes go to port for the weekend, and I thought it was a good idea to visit the Shetland Islands, which is of course a very special place for us. There's historic bonds from old times, especially the war time."

Thomassen - who joined the navy in 1995 before rising through the ranks - added that the ship undertakes a host of jobs, from training to joining international operations.

Some of the crew onboard the warship. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News Some of the crew onboard the warship. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

"We called it a multi-purpose warship - it does basically every kind of maritime operations there is," he said.

"This does warfare both beneath the surface, on the surface and in the air. And of course basic training or advanced training is something that we do routinely, also we conduct operations at all times in some form.

"We patrol our areas of interest in the seas and participate in international operations as decided by the government."

The Thor Heyerdahl is one of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates owned by the Norwegian navy, with the ships home to 132 personnel.

The frigates have been used in areas like the Arctic and the Norwegian sea, while they are deployed internationally for operations, tests and exercises.

On Friday evening guests will be invited for a reception on board the vessel, while on Saturday at 11.30am there will be a parade of around 40 crew members through Scalloway, with a wreath due to be laid at the Shetland Bus memorial.

Able ranking member Marcus Oveland. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News Able ranking member Marcus Oveland. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

At the same time on Sunday, members of the ship will lay a wreath at the Norwegian war graves at the Lerwick cemetery.

Crew member Henrietta Nilsson said the Norwegian navy often makes trips to other countries.

"It's normal in the Navy to visit our allied land, just to keep the friendship maintained," she said.

Walking around the warship and you get first-hand experience of its labyrinth nature, with tight staircases and corridors abound. Crew member Henrietta Nilsson on board the Thor Heyerdahl. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News Crew member Henrietta Nilsson on board the Thor Heyerdahl. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

Then there's the guns, with shorter-range weapons on the side of the ship and the main gun at the front.

For commanding officer Thomassen life at sea has become the norm - and it seems it's something he's more than happy with.

"I guess every sailor could say there's something attractive to the sea and going out on the ocean with a crew," he said.

"There's the saying about sailors - if you're at sea, you're going to miss home, and if you're at home, you're going to miss going to sea. There's something to that."

 

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