In the words of the Norwegian Transport Ministry, since Tønsnes harbour in Tromsø is a municipal one, it falls under the reception obligation and has a duty to accept all types of allied warships – despite local opposition.
After initially rejecting nuclear-powered submarines, the municipal council in Tromsø, Norway’s largest city above the Polar Circle, has made a startling U-turn despite popular protests.
The decision was made by an overwhelming majority of 32 to 11 votes, national broadcaster NRK reported. The municipal council voiced concern about fulfilling Norway’s obligations as a member of NATO, and pledged to facilitate the allied presence in the High North in general and the municipality in particular.
This marks the end of years of negotiations between Norway and the US. The two countries have been working to enable US submarines to dock at Tønsnes in Tromsø. The US would like a port in northern Norway to change crews, fill up with equipment, and perform maintenance. This is due to the fact that US submarines are now sailing more than before in the North Atlantic, alongside Norway’s coast and in the Arctic.
Tromsø had such a facility in the form of the NATO base Olavsvern, but it was closed down in 2009 and sold to private investors. This leaves the municipal harbour of Tønsnes as the only option. The municipal council of Tromsø initially had plans to develop the port for civil and commercial…