Norway Restricts Port Access for Russian Fishing Fleet

Russian trawler
File image courtesy USC

Published Jul 7, 2024 11:29 PM by The Maritime Executive


Norway has announced that it is aligning itself with the EU’s latest sanctions against Russia. The sanctions targeted key sectors of the Russian economy, especially shipment of Russia’s LNG through a shadow tanker fleet. Norway also added that it will also allow for profits generated from frozen Central Bank of Russia assets to be used in support of Ukraine.

But more sweeping changes is Norway introducing new restrictions for Russian fishing vessels at the three Norwegian ports partially exempt from the port ban. Currently, Norway has closed all its ports to Russian vessels, with the exception of Tromsø, Båtsfjord and Kirkenes ports, which are partially open to Russian fishing vessels. This meant that Russian fishing vessels could call at these three ports and be allowed to unload fish, change crew and resupply. In addition, the vessels had no restriction on how long they could stay at berth in the three ports.

However, this will change under the new restrictions introduced last week. Norwegian government said that the time Russian fishing vessels can dock in these three ports will be limited to a maximum of five working days, or seven days when including weekends and holidays. Further, a minimum of three days must pass since the previous stay in a port on mainland Norway. Russian fishing vessels will only be allowed to access specific terminals or quays in the three ports cleared to receive Russian vessels.

“With the exception of three ports partially open to Russian fishing vessels, inspection activity is already high. But the police and customs are now strengthening their inspection, and we are placing stricter requirements on Russian fishing vessels when staying in port,” said Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice and Emergency Preparedness.

In this regard, the government directed that the customs service must cooperate closely with the Norwegian State police by sharing information. The military must also continue to monitor all maritime activity and share information with other agencies.

The Norway-Russia fisheries agreement remains one of the few still existing cooperation areas between the two countries. The agreement ensures long-term management of the cod stock and other species in the Barents Sea.