In the wake of Sunday‘s hostage incident on the island of Nólsoy, sailing was cancelled on route 90 between Tórshavn and Nólsoy almost the entire yesterday.
Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL), the public transport company of the Faroe Islands, decided that it was not safe to sail to Nólsoy, and route 90 – now operated by the infamous Jósup – first recommenced last night around 10pm.
Those who had to run errands in the capital or simply had to cross the fjord go to the work, thus, had to be escorted from Nólsoy to Tórshavn by private boats. It is, however, understood that many of the villagers took a day off from work yesterday.
The villagers claim that they merely intended to organize a peaceful 15-minute demonstration – they had even brewed coffee and baked cakes for the occasion – to show their dissatisfaction with the “Ternan situation”.
However, the demonstration did not go according to plan and instead lasted 5 hours.
The villagers originally captured Ternan as it approached Nólsoy harbor. They tied up the ferry and blocked the port entrance by a wire rope and thereby made it impossible for the captain of the ferry to return to Tórshavn. Normally, Ternan is not tied up upon arrival in Nólsoy.
In an unusual countermove, the Ternan crew refused to lower the ramp on the car deck and, thus, the 35-40 passengers, who were onboard, were unable to leave the ferry.
According to the passengers onboard, the captain of the ferry never gave them any status update.
Police officers arrived at the scene, but they were not immediately able to deal with the situation, and at one point the situation even threatened to spiral out of control as a couple of demonstrators grew agitated.
The passengers were held hostage by the SSL crew for around 5 hours – until 9.30pm on Sunday, when they were finally released.
Ternan returned to Tórshavn a few minutes later, and yesterday route 90 was cancelled until 10pm, when Jósup finally steamed out to Nólsoy.
Jósup is the ferry that normally sails between Vágar and Mykines, but as the route between the two western islands only runs during the summer months, SSL have been able to switch Jósup to route 90.
The Tórshavn-Nólsoy ferry Ternan sails between Sandoy and Streymoy while Teistin, the regular ferry between the two islands, is docked.
People from the village of Nólsoy have demanded that the new coalition will prioritize building – or buying – a new ferry to route 90.