'Wild Vikings' land in Cambridge Bay jail
Last Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2007 | 1:43 PM CT
Three Norwegian men calling themselves the "Wild Vikings" were arrested in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, cutting short their attempted voyage through the Northwest Passage in a sailboat.
Cambridge Bay RCMP say they caught up with the adventurers on the morning of Aug. 24 as they were getting off their boat, the Beserk II, in the western Nunavut hamlet.
The Beserk II sits at the Cambridge Bay dock Wednesday, while three of its crew members sit in RCMP custody.
Police arrested the men because they did not report to the federal Immigration Department. The three are expected to learn soon if they will remain in custody.
Police did not identify the men in a news release issued late Wednesday, but the Beserk II was seen floating by the hamlet's dock that day, with meat and dirty socks tied to the boat's lines.
The Wild Vikings' website identifies five crew members, including captain Jarle Andhoy. Usually accompanied by a television crew, Andhoy and his mates have been known in Norway for their antics while at sea.
A 2003 video of their trip to Antarctica and northern Russia shows the crew donning horned helmets, chasing polar bears, cuddling up to walruses and downing vodka with the Russian coast guard.
The Wild Vikings set out for the Northwest Passage earlier this month as a tribute to explorer Roald Amundsen's successful journey in 1903 through the passage's full length.
Cambridge Bay radio operator Peter Semotiuk, who helps ships navigate the Northwest Passage, told CBC News that the Wild Vikings left the community of Gjoa Haven without reporting their presence to police.
The RCMP's news release said warrants for the men's arrests were issued after they failed to report in Gjoa Haven.
Reporting to police ensures people who could be a threat to the country are not let in, Semotiuk said, but added that the Wild Vikings' arrest does not mean they pose a threat.
"These are Canadian waters and Canadian lands here, so this needs to be done. It needs to be reported to the Canadian government."
Still, in the 20 years he's been an operator, Semotiuk said the arrests in Cambridge Bay are a first.
"This may impact other boats that have not reported," he said.
The Norwegian adventurers are getting some moral support from Cambridge Bay resident Doug Stern, who has sailed part of the Northwest Passage.
"You wouldn't have very good memories of Canada if you had to spend considerable time in jail," Stern said. "So I hope it gets resolved quickly and they can continue on their voyage."
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