Sandnessjøen is the administrative centre of Alstahaug municipality and lies on the Alstenøya island, the largest of the about 1100 islands in the municipality.
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Most of the 7300 residents in the municipality live in Sandnessjøen, which was granted its town charter in 1999. The main industries are commerce, public and private services, tourism, aquaculture, mechanical industries engaged in shipbuilding and offshore services to the oil activities off Helgeland. Sandnessjøen is a district transport hub with daily air, ferry, express boat and bus arrivals and departures. The coastal steamer calls every day, giving tourists the chance to see the town and enjoy a cup of coffee on dry land while the steamer loads and unloads.