17 March 2006
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Law Offices in Norway court hearings regarding Norwegian authorities’ claim against Russian trawler “Captain Gorbatchev”

An appeal was heard in the Court in Tromso, Norway, on 16-17 of March, 2006 to examine the legality of actions of two Russian vessels, “Captain Gorbatchev” of Archangelsk Trawler Fleet and “Dmitry Pokramovitch” of Murmanrybprom, which had been previously fined by the Norwegian authorities last October.

The Norwegian Prosecutor alleged that the Russian state-owned Archangelsk Trawler Fleet had broken Norwegian fishing regulations, including illegal fishing and non-notification of the Norwegian authorities about the fish transhipment near Medvezhiy Island, Norway.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Law Offices lawyers sought to prove that the 900 000 Norwegian Crown fine last October imposed by the Norwegian authorities on ATF-owned “Captain Gorbatchev” was unlawful. They maintained that the ship had strictly followed the Russian authorities interpretation of the Norwegian fishing regulations while transhipping fish near Medvezhiy Island.

Runo Hansen, Deputy Governor of Spitzbergen, presented the case for the Norwegian authorities. The Norwegian Coast Guard, who had arrested “Captain Gorbatchev” and “Dmitry Pokramovitch” last October, the Head of the Coast Guard of North Norway and a senior official of Fishing Directorate of Norway acted as witnesses for the prosecution..

The Russians denied guilt, stating that they were following instructions from the Russian authorities not to execute new regulations which had been issued by the Norwegian authorities in 2005 regarding obligatory notification about the fish transhipment in Spitzbergen waters.

Having heard the pleadings, the court adjourned for consideration of the case. The judgment is expected to be handed down in 7-14 days.