Three weeks later, “Farm” is docked near Sortland Naval Base, where commander Stig Flått and his crew are ready to leave the ship. Clear signs of spring, with temperatures well above zero, have arrived in Sortland, giving some idea of the enormous contrasts in conditions facing the Coast Guard as it makes its way along Norway’s northern coastline. The force also faces a formidable range of tasks. Commander Stig Flått explains that the coast guard crew constitutes the executive arm of a number of institutions – including the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Norwegian Coast Administration, the police and customs authorities – and no two days are the same.
“70 percent of our time is dedicated to control of fishing and resources, but there’s always a whole range of tasks coming our way – such as border patrol, oil recovery and tugboat operations, environmental monitoring, facilitating ocean research, search and rescue … The list goes on,” the commander says.
“If I had to pick the most essential part of our job, I would have to say being present in the coastal communities, communicating with the industry and helping people when things don’t go according to plan. That’s what gives me the greatest satisfaction doing this job.”