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The Norwegian Coast Guard has been detaining two Russian trawlers for over three days for an alleged violation of fishing rules
The Norwegian Coast Guard has been detaining two Russian trawlers for over three days for an alleged violation of fishing rules. Sources from the Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet Company, which owns one of the arrested trawlers, told Tass on Thursday that the trawlers Kapitan Gorbachev and Dmitry Pokramovich are anchored side by side near the Spitsbergen Archipelago, and Norwegian officers are on duty in shifts on board the trawlers. On Wednesday, the Russian ship owners received official notifications that the Norwegian authorities had imposed fines worth in excess of 330,000 US dollars on the Russian ships. The Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet company is to pay a fine of 900,000 krones (some 140,000 dollars) for its trawler Kapitan Gorbachev. However, according to its general director Yuri Nikulin, the company will not pay, as “there are no grounds for penalty sanctions”. He believes the captain “acted strictly in accordance with the Russian regulatory regime for that fishing zone”. Russia and Norway fixed the status of the Spitsbergen fishing zone in a bilateral agreement of February 9, 1920. In line with it, both countries have equal rights for fishing in those waters. Moscow does not recognize the regime of a 12-mile economic zone around the archipelago, which Oslo introduced later. Norway accuses the two Russian trawlers of not notifying it on the entry into the 12-mile zone and on the beginning of work to reload fish. However, according to Russian instructions the captains are not allowed to do that. The Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet Company was established 85 years ago. Currently, it is a joint stock company with 100% governmental capital. The Kapitan Gorbachev has a crew of 83. It was carrying 1,500 tonnes of fish at the moment of the Norwegian inspection. Nikulin said the fish were caught legally.
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