A rare picture of the cargo boat URSA waiting inside the port of Svolvær in 1944 to join a convoy to get south again.
Shipping during the war
During the war, conditions were difficult for shipping along the coast. The ships were exposed to Allied attacks, and Norwegian flags were painted on the sides of the ship to show that these were civilian ships. But the Germans also used civilian ships every now and then, and thus there was also a danger that the coastal ships could be attacked. And we depended on these ships to be able to live in Northern Norway.
About 200 Norwegian ships were sunk along the coast during World War II and more than 1,000 civilians were killed. 11 hurtigruten ships was lost plus several replacement ships for hurtigruten that went the last leg from Tromsø to Kirkenes.
It was dangerous to walk alone even if you had painted Norwegian flags. The Germans also painted Norwegian flags on some of their boats. The sailors who sailed along the coast were not allowed to quit their jobs. Then you would be arrested. The only option was to escape to Sweden, but it was not as easy for those who had a wife and children. The sailors along the coast did not receive the honour they should have had after the war for what they were exposed to.
The picture belongs to Lofoten War Memorial Museum.