northguiderfines

HIGH NEGLIGENCE: Owner and captain of Northguider fined total of 330,000 kr. for wrecking trawler in north Svalbard, necessitating rescue of crew and multiyear removal effort

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The owner of the wrecked Northguider shrimp trawler that’s been stranded in north Svalbard since December of 2018 has been fined 300,000 kroner and the ship’s captain 35,000 kroner for safety and navigation violations, The Governor of Svalbard announced Monday.

The ship was grounded in Hinlopenstretet on Dec. 28, 2018, forcing a helicopter rescue of the 14 crew members in dark and stormy conditions because the vessel was listing heavily and taking on water. The rescue was followed by months of removing fuel and other hazardous materials to prevent environmental harm, but damage to the vessel and weather conditions have thwarted efforts to remove it that are again planned this summer.

“The Northguider was fishing in a climatic and weather-demanding area, including ice, low temperatures, dark, and rapid changes in wind and weather conditions,” Lt. Gov. Sølvi Elvedahl said in a prepared statement. “There is also a lack of a map base, long distances to the rescue, and unstable radio coverage in this area.”

The fines were imposed by the state attorney’s office for Troms and Finnmark.

“The shipping company did not have sufficient safety management system to identify and control the risk to the vessel, sailing and fishing with the Northguider, as well as the special conditions that apply to fishing in these areas.”

The ship’s owner, Opilio AS, is also responsible for the costs of the removal being done by a Dutch salvage company.

The captain was fined due to negligent navigation by not taking into sufficient account the risks of fishing in demanding conditions in polar waters, near land, with reduced visibility due to darkness, snow and wind, tides, and poor radio coverage.

“Furthermore, there was a risk of oil spills in a nature reserve,” Elvedahl said. “The Northguider had, among other things, 65,000 liters of oil on board.”

The fines were reduced from original orders of 500,000 kroner and 50,000 kroner due to the contribution of adverse circumstances that were raised during the investigation.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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