Vultures Row: Naval Chase Ends

Naval Chase Ends

It was a dark and stormy night… ok, it was dark and stormy, but it was early morning not night as the Russian “fishing trawler” (in my time in the navy any soviet ship not sporting visible weapon systems was a “fishing trawler”) Elektron made good her escape.  

Norway’s coastguard began chasing Elektron in the Barents Sea two days ago. On the grounds of the illegally fishing in Norwegian territorial waters, Norway’s coastguard intercepted the trawler on Saturday. The Russian crew began following one of the Norwegian ships to port as ordered. However, Elektron changed course Sunday and laid course for Russia with two Norwegian fisheries inspectors still on board.  

“We have two coastguard ships that are following the trawler, and in addition, two other coastguard ships are keeping at a distance,”  Norwegian Lt. Col. John Espen Lien was quoted as saying by Norwegian news agency NTB. “We have not had any special contact with the Russians overnight, and they have not shown any particular interest in communicating with us.”

Elektron entered Russian waters in the dark and stormy early hours of Wednesday and was heading towards the port of Murmansk, escorted by the anti-submarine ship Admiral Levchenko.

Russia objected to Norway’s definition of its economic zone — a region where it controls the rights to fish. The incident took place in the Spitsbergen area, which the Norwegian side has proclaimed a fish-protection zone, which Russia has never agreed to the parameters that they feel the Norwegians set unilaterally.

Normally, trawlers detained for illegal fishing are escorted back to a Norwegian port, where they could face fines and the seizure of their catch.

Russian officals have been quoted as saying Elektron would proceed to the northern port of Murmansk, where it would face an investigation and possible legal action.

In any event it is interesting that Elektron’s skipper thought he could run with Norwegians aboard and face lesser charges in Russia.  We will see if Russia will respect international law or protect the Captain.


Blog contents copyright 2010 Vulture 6

Site Meter