6 June 2006
Latest news on Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet case by Interfax

Interfax

Russia & CIS Food and Agriculture Weekly

ARKHANGELSK FLEET CONFIRMS RIGHTS TO DETAINED TRAWLERS

The Murmansk region arbitration court on June 6 confirmed the wholly state owned Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet's rights to three trawlers detained in Mauritania.

Yegorov, Puginsky, Afanasyev & Partners, the law firm representing Russia in the effort to recover the trawlers, said in a press release that the court heard ATF's lawsuit seeking to recover assets held illegally by another party.

"The court ruled that the defendant - Mauritanian firm Societe De Promotion De La Peche, without legal grounds, is holding the Kapitan Kononov, Yuozas Aleksonis and Tralmeister Mogutov fishing ships that legally belong to ATF," the release said.

ATF said in its lawsuit that the defendant cites a Mauritania court ruling made in August 2004, under which the trawlers were handed over to the Mauritanian company as payment for debt. But this debt does not exist, and the documents under which the debt allegedly arose were never signed by any ATF representatives, the law firm said.

In addition, the Mauritanian firm violated a bilateral fishing agreement between the government of Russia and Mauritania, because neither ATF nor any other Russian organization was informed about the seizure and sale of the trawlers, the lawsuit states.

Under the Murmansk court ruling, Societe De Promotion De La Peche is obligated to return the three trawlers to their legal owner, the release said.

These ships were seized in June 2004 and ended up in the hands of Mauritanian businessman Abass Bugourbal. Russia has initiated a series of court actions in an effort to recover the ships.