Norway restricting Russian fishing fleet access to ports

The port of Tromso, Norway.

New measures restricting Russian fishing boats’ access to Norway to just three ports are being introduced by the Norwegian government.

Norway said it plans to swiftly implement the move to prevent Russian vessels from circumventing sanctions implemented in response to the invasion of Ukraine, according to Norway Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.

"We have closely monitored Russian activity in Norwegian waters and in Norwegian ports to avoid Norway becoming a transit country for transporting goods illegally to Russia,” Huitfeldt said. "We now have information that indicates that there is a need to increase controls of Russian fishing vessels.”

According to Huitfeldt, Russia is now “more unpredictable” and is looking for ways to avoid sanctions.

Historically, Russian fishing vessels often deliver their catch at dozens of Norwegian ports, benefiting the local economy, and Norway has thus far exempted them from sanctions imposed on Russia's commercial shipping.

Russian fishing vessels will now only be permitted to call at Kirkenes and Båtsfjord in the Barents Sea, and Tromsø in the Norwegian Sea. Vessels visiting these ports will also be subject to closer customs inspections and security checks. Some continued access was needed as the joint management of fish stocks remains important, Huitfeldt said.

The decision comes in response to heightened concern regarding the security of Norway’s offshore and coastal oil and gas facilities following unexplained leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea – which officials in the U.S. and Europe have suggested resulted from acts of sabotage – as well as unidentified drone sightings in close proximity to some of Norway’s offshore platforms.

Norway, which is now Europe's leading gas supplier and a major source of its oil, has ramped up security around its energy infrastructure, including deployments of its navy and air force.

Photo courtesy of kasakphoto/Shutterstock


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