A dispute over four dead parrots will end in a Norwegian court next month.

The owner of the birds wants 25,000 crowns ($3,644) compensation after they drowned in 1999 when a ferry sank off west Norway, killing 16 people. The insurance company has offered 1,500 crowns.

"Some people will think the loss of a few parrots is trivial compared to the big tragedy. But for me it's become a matter of principle," the 55-year-old man told the west Norwegian daily Bergensavisen.

"It's bad to treat birds like packages in the post."

The birds had been in a cage on the way to a vet in the port city of Bergen when the ferry hit rocks and sank. The man is due to go to court in Bergen on October 20 against ferry company HSD and insurer Skuld

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