Skipper Convicted for Entering Antarctica Without Permit

Published Jul 16, 2014 8:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) has commended the Nord-Troms District Court for convicting Jarle Andhøy of violating the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Andhøy, skipper of the ill-fated yacht Berserk that went missing on 21 February, 2011 in the Ross Sea, Antarctica with the loss of three crew members. At the time, Berserk activated its emergency transponder with three people on board, while Andhøy and one of his crewmates, Samuel Massie, were driving all-terrain vehicles towards the pole.

An extensive search was coordinated by New Zealand’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre, and involved the governments of New Zealand, Norway, and the United States. Involved in the search were the New Zealand naval vessel HMNZS Wellington, and the private vessels Professor Khromov (Spirit of Enderby) and Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin, in addition to the helicopter on the Steve Irwin. On 25 February, the Steve Irwin found an empty, damaged lifeboat from the Berserk and several packages of drinking water, but no sign of the boat itself. After an extensive search by these vessels, the search was concluded on 1 March 2011 with all three crew member presumed dead.

Andhøy’s 2011 expedition was conducted without prior consent from the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), who had ordered the trip to be postponed after Andhøy failed to provide the necessary information about his proposed activities and insurance coverage that are required for a permit under the Antarctic Treaty System. Andhøy returned to Antarctica without authorization again in early 2012 on the yacht Nilaya. According to Andhøy, the purpose of the second expedition was to gather further information about the missing Berserk.
In the District Court, Andhøy argued that NPI regulations did not apply to his second expedition because he had only sailed in open sea, and did not land on the Antarctic continent. The court rejected this because Antarctica was their destination and the main purpose of the expedition. 

Andhøy was ordered to pay a fine of 45,000 NOK (7000 USD) on 23 June, 2014.  Failure to pay will result in a 50 day suspended sentence. Andhøy has told Norwegian Press that he plans to appeal.