Murmansk court starts proceedings against Norwegian trawler company
The local October Court in Murmansk has started its case against the owners of the trawler «Remøy» and its captain Ketil Arvik, Sud51 reports. Stakes are high. The accused could end up with a multi-million euro fine which ultimately would put the company on its knees.
The claims against the company amount to almost 600 million rubles (€9.3 million), a sum based on the market price of the shrimps caught by the trawler «Remøy» during its three weeks of fishing in Russian waters this spring.
«If the company is forced to pay such a fine, then it will mean a halt of company activities, it will bankrupt and the bank will take the vessel», Richard Berg, a lawyer representing the Norwegian company Remøy Havfiske, said in the court session.
According to Berg, the Remøy-case is based on a human error conducted by an employee in the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate. He showed the court a document where the Directorate admits its guilt.
Furthermore, the Norwegians argue, the mistake committed is of minor character and has not inflicted any kind of damage on the Russian side.
As previously reported, the Norwegian trawler was on the 11th May arrested by the Russian Coast Guard for illegal fishing of shrimp in Russian waters.
The Norwegian Fishery Directorate soon confirmed that an administrative error on the Norwegian side had been the reason for the detention of the «Remøy». The trawler had applied for license to shrimp catch as part of a Norwegian quota in Russian waters. The license was issued, however the documents submitted by the Directorate to the Russian side included mistakes.
The Russian prosecutors however still argue that the Norwegian ship captain failed to comply with Russian regulations and that he was personally responsible of double-checking the permissions issued.
After hectic diplomatic efforts, the ship was on 2nd June allowed to leave back to Norway after three weeks of arrest in Murmansk.
Court hearings in the case are due to continue on the 19th July, Sud51 informs.