The Coast Guard arrested “Boris Zaitsev” on Saturday and escorted the vessel to Tromsø where the local police interrogated the captain. It is normal procedure that Norwegian Coast Guard takes Russian trawlers to port to make sure that the pay their penalties instead of escaping from prosecution.
The trawler was released on Tuesday after the ship owner, Murmansk Trawl Fleet, issued a banking guarantee. The police in Tromsø issued a NOK 250,000 (€33,850) forfeiture penalty to the vessel in addition to a NOK 25,000 (€3,385) fine to the captain, reports NRK.
The captain and Murmansk Trawl Fleet have not accepted the fines and will challenge the accusations in court, reports Interfax. The trawler now intends to resume fishing.
Russian Foreign Ministry and owners of trawlers have both heavily criticized what they say is discrimination of Russian trawlers by Norwegian Coast Guard. Most Norwegian trawlers accused of illegal activities are just given a fine and are normally not taken to port. Russian trawlers taken to port say the interruption of fishing is an extra penalty since the extra downtime in fishing cost a fortune in losses.
After the Coast Guard arrested the trawler “Sapphire II” in autumn 2011, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow sent a note of protest to the Norwegian Ambassador, stating that “Norway’s action is inadmissible and provocative.”