Bånd mellom Sjøvik og GC Rieber?
Samme person i de to selskapenes styre.
Publisert 23. desember 07

Artikkelen fra FIS (Fish Information & Services) under påpeker at Ove Halvard Sjøvik Kanestrøm er styremedlem av Sjøvik Seafood AS og i GC Rieber Oils. Sjøvik-gruppen fisker i okkuperte Vest-Sahara, mens GC Rieber importerer fra samme sted. Det er uklart hvor stor grad båndene mellom de to også strekker seg til det kontroversielle fiskeriet i det okkuperte landet.

WEEKEND FEATURE: The inconvenient struggle against pirates
By Terje Engoe
June 08, 2007

In Morrocco the unreported, unregulated, and illegal (IUU) reefer Polestar has been apprehended, and the crew are under arrest. Elsewhere, in Norway, a number of IUU vessels are being denied services at harbour. These vessels are now creating a headache for fishery authorities, given that a vessel lacking basic services and provisions very quickly turns into a stinking problem regarding the welfare of the crew and environmental issues. Despite discussions going on for years, it looks as if Norway was not quite prepared to handle the inconvenient problems arising from having a pirate ship on their hands.

FIS.com recently reported on the vessel Nicolay Chudotvorets when it was denied services and provisions and even had its electrical supply cut at Kristiansund in Norway. The actions taken since the vessel's blacklisting by the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), are based on the Port State Control that now applies to landings or trans-shipments (in ports of NEAFCs contracting parties) of frozen fish, caught in the area covered by the NEAFC Convention for foreign vessels. In practise the vessel was denied entry to Norwegian territorial waters from the date the port state control was applied.

However, the situation is a catch-22, as the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has banned all provision of supplies and services to Nicolay Chudotvorets, the vessel, for lack of any food, water, electricity or fuel, is hindered from every leaving harbour.

“We are reporting to the NEAFC on this matter. We are not communicating with the owners. It is up to NEAFC to discuss this with the flag state, in this case Russia, regarinding what is to happen to this vessel," Gunnstein Bakke of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries told FIS.com.

Untraceable owners
The directorate has some documents showing a St. Petersburg-based company, Okkervil LLC, as the owner, however, when searching the street address, listed as Artilleriyskaya, there are a number of buildings on the street, however none with the number 2. Calling the telephone number given in the documents does not go far either, upon asking for the company and recieving a "nyet-nyet". Needless to say, Okkervil is not to be listed in any telephone directory for St. Petersburg. Finally, a modern attempt trying out an e-mail address falls short as well, bouncing back with "permanent fatal errors.”

As reported earlier, the New Zealand Maritime Index linked the ship to a Norwegian company: “Port charges in Dunedin were being paid by Belemorskije Prornysiy of Petrozavodsk, Republic of Korelia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. (Another rendition noted is FSF Belomorsk Promysel). In November 2004 the vessel was purchased by Verfick Systems Inc., Panama, a company with ties to Nor Russ Trading A/S of Kristiansund, Norway. Eight crew, including the Master, arrived in Christchurch and joined the vessel in Dunedin at the end of January 2005.".
Denies involvement, however…..

Armed with the FIS report, the Norwegian Broadcasting Service contacted Ove Halvard Sjøvik Kanestrøm, manager director in Nor Russ Trading A/S. However, he denied that any such connection exists. When contacted by FIS.com, he also denied having any knowledge over the ownership of the vessel, saying: “I have been told that Nor Russ Trading A/S has been linked to the Pavlovsk and Nicolay Chudotvorets. But I do not know anything about such links. The company has not had anything to do with those vessels.

"Some years ago many people registered companies with the intention to do trade with Russian companies, as did Nor Russ Trading A/S, a company with only a small share capital,” Kanestrøm told FIS.com.

He admits that there may be a chance that the main shareholder, Alexander Kamarov could be involved the name of the company in activities he is not aware of: “Kamarov owns a small ship yard in Murmansk. He has lots of contacts and he is doing repairs on fishing vessels. He, perhaps, may have just allowed somebody the use of the company name for unknown reasons, and if so it is without my knowledge”, Kanestrøm said.

“Kanstrøm knows more than he is willing to say”, comments a representative of Norwegian authorities to FIS.com, adding that three other blacklisted vessels have requested permission to go to Kristiansund.

These vessels, the Dolphin, Ivanita, and Pavlovsk are all blacklisted by NEAFC, and all denied permission to enter the Norwegian harbour. The vessel Pavlovsk as is the Nicolay Chudotvorets is being linked to Nor Russ Trading A/S.

Lloyds links to pirate vessel
Alexander Kamarov is presently said to be in Russia, although he is not answering his mobile phone, which is a pity, as he could shed some light possibly on the case, with his knowledge.

If such a link is proven to be true, despite denials from Kanestrøm, this news is bound to make waves in the Norwegian fishery. Kanestrøm is, according to the Norwegian Company registry, the daily manager and chairman of the Board of Directors in Kristiansund Fiskeindustri AS - a company wholly owned by Sjøvik AS- one of Norway's largest seafood companies with activities through subsidiaries in Russia, the United Kingdom, and Morocco.

He is also director in Gc Rieber Oils AS, a subsidiary of the publicly listed Gc Rieber ASA, and upcoming director or daily manager for a number of other companies.
On Thursday, FIS.com had not yet been able get any further confirmation regarding any ties between Nor Russ Trading A/S and the Nicolay Chudotvorets. However, a print out from the Lloyds Shipping Registry on the blacklisted vessel Pavlovsk, as for Nicolay Chudotvorets blacklisted for illegal fishery in the Bering Sea, are listing Nor Russ Trading A/S as operator. As Nicolay Chudotvorets, Pavlovsk is also owned by a Panama registered company.

This makes it difficult to deny that Nor Russ Trading A/S has been involved as a owner, operator, or manager of those vessels. It is also indicating why a number of blacklisted vessels have been trying to go to Kristiansund for service and supplies. On the other hand, it is not possible to track any income from the role as operator of the vessels to the company.

Especially for Sjøvik AS, controlled by Odd Kjell Sjøvik, a senior figure in Norwegian fishing industry, it will be very awkward to be linked indirect via one of his closest employees to a number of black listed vessels. He is known as a serious fishery executive keeping his track clear of any illegal activities.

Blacklist now of value
Research by FIS.com reveals that the problem must also be of a political nature for Norwegian authorities. The Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Helga Pedersen a number of times has explained to international audiences that Norway will be in the forefront in developing sustainable fisheries and cracking down on IUU fisheries.
She said: “1 May, 2007 will stand as a milestone in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the North-East Atlantic," the day the NEAFC introduced the new port-state control regime.

“This is a breakthrough in combating illegal fishing in our maritime areas. Port-state control of fisheries will give us a far better overview of the total volume of fish removed. Henceforth it will be difficult for vessels engaging in illegal fishing to land their booty,” Pederson said on 29 April.

Despite NEAFC doing what the minister deems is a breakthrough, the Norwegian authorities are blind to Norwegian involvement in the fleet they are trying to hinder in operating illegaly. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries some years ago is_is_published a list of blacklisted vessels. Lots of restrictions were put on these vessels. They would not be allowed to fish on quotas in Norwegian zona. They would not be allowed to be sold to Norwegian owners, and so on.

The Norwegian controlled vessel Nina was blacklisted by CCAMLR because of IUU fishery of Patagonian toothfish. It was subsequently blacklisted by the Norwegian Directorate of Fishery. Nina was owned by the Norwegian fishing vessel owner Oddvar Vea, an adventures fisherman known from different kind of operations worldwide. This vessel has passed trough a number of flags, including Vanuatu and Belize, and it is still owned by Vea. It is now sailing as Cevita with Norwegian flag.

Will it just sail off?
The situation is becoming very delicate. Norway and other European nations are all on the forefront in the, up until now, verbal war against what in public is called pirate vessels. The reefer Polestar was sent away from Europe without any country being able to take any real actions against it. Not before arriving in Morocco were any real actions taken against the vessel.

In Norway the authorities are reporting to the NEAFC, which in turn contacts the flag state. Next week the NEAFC will be blacklisting part of the proceedings during an Extraordinary General Meeting in the organisation. It is expected that Russia, as a member of NEAFC, will present their view on the situation.

The possibility exists that the vessel will be removed from the list as a result of pressure from Russia. If this happens, Norway may have to let Nicolay Chudotvorets sail off, following orders from the NEAFC. If Norwegian interests are involved they will just sail off with the alleged pirate vessel. At the moment the situation surrounding the Nicolay Chudotvorets is messy and inconvenient, while Norway awaits word from the NEAFC, which awaits word from Russia.

Greenpeace has called on the Norwegian Government to live up to their promises and tighten controls over Norwegian residents involved in IUU fishing activities.
"It is stunning to see how Norway, which likes to be seen as a leading actor against illegal fishing, can allow vessels like the Pavlovsk and Nikolai Chudotvorets use Norwegian ports like Kristiansund even without investigating if there are Norwegian ownership links to the vessels", Greenpeace's Truls Gulowsen told FIS.com.

"In this case, it seems there may also be material of interest also to tax and customs authorities that should be investigated. Norway cannot afford to be a safe haven for pirate owners", he also said. The Norwegian prime minister and the Fisheries minister announced an intensified campaign against Norwegian IUU interests in August last year. Since then not much has happened it seems, says Gulowsen.

Se www.fis.com for en serie av artikler om samme tema.

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