The end is nearing for repair of Russian fishing boats in northern Norway
Russian fishing vessels are allowed to make port calls to Tromsø, Kirkenes and Båtsfjord, but only for a limited number of services:
- Crew change
- Unloading (fish)
Repair and maintenance are not included.
The reminder about the sanctions regime against Russia was published on Friday by the Foreign Ministry.
“The sanctions against Russia affect Norwegian business in many sectors, be it shipbuilding, oil and gas, fisheries and more. The measures are meant to be broadly applicable,” Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt says.
“The purpose of these is to reduce Russia’s ability to finance warfare in Ukraine,” she underlines.
This means that ship repair yards, like KIMEK in Kirkenes and Tromsø Mekaniske, could have to make individual applications for exceptions from the sanctions regime for each ship upfront.
Such exceptions could be given for services tasked for “maritime safety”, the ministry writes.
“There is a generally high threshold for granting exceptions. For example, you cannot get an exception for planned maintenance.”
Greger Mannsverk, CEO of KIMEK shipyard in Kirkenes, refuses an interview request from the Barents Observer.
Security concerns are raised in Norway after President Putin last summer included possible military use of civilian fishing vessels in the country’s maritime doctrine. Russian intelligence is likely already using fishing boats for mapping interesting areas, the Norwegian Police Security Service has warned.
On Friday, the Chief of Police in Finnmark, Ellen Katrine Hætta, decided to limit the areas of access for Russian seamen going onshore in Kirkenes and Båtsfjord.
“Today’s security situation in Europe increases the need for security and control activities carried out by Norwegian authorities. Narrowing the area of access is also a measure in this context,” says Hætta.
With the new regulations, the seamen can still visit the Russian consulate general, the World War II monument and shops in the center of Kirkenes and Båtsfjord.
In its revised national budget presented on Thursday, the government grants an extra 46,5 million kroner (€4 million) to increase the control of Russian fishing vessels making port calls to northern Norway. The extra money goes to the Customs and is aimed to stop possible illegal export of products under the sanctions regime.