The first noticeable consequence of the decision on the border between Norway and Russia in Finnmark comes right after the decision taken by the government in the Cabinet this morning.
The Storskog border station will be closed to all goods on the EU sanctions list Foreign Minister Anken Heitfeldt (Labour) to NRK.
– We present the fifth package of EU sanctions in Norway. This means that we will immediately close the Storskog transport of goods, and a ban will be imposed on the transport of a number of chemicals. We have one exception, and that’s for Svalbard, because that’s where we have the Treaty of Svalbard. Those who signed it will be treated equally.
– How does the Norwegian decision differ from the EU’s fifth sanctions package?
– We offer it in full. We have one obvious exception and that is Svalbard.
The Treaty of Svalbard grants Norway sovereignty, i.e. the right to rule, over Svalbard, but all parties that signed the treaty will be allowed to conduct unimpeded activities there. The Soviet Union signed the treaty in 1925, and Russia decided to continue to abide by it in 1992.
The EU adopted the latest sanctions package on April 8. Heitfeldt says communication with the EU has been largely about clarifications on how to interpret the decision.
The Foreign Minister does not expect Russian reactions.
– No I do not. This is a collective response from the European Union to what is considered an invasion of Ukraine in violation of international law. This is mostly Norwegian policy.
Ports will be closed on May 7
Russian ships will not be able to dock in Norway from the end of next week. Norway allows eight days of the decision until the port is closed in the same way the European Union did earlier in April.
– We close Norwegian ports to Russian ships, but exclude fishing vessels. The European Union has done the same. We are making it simple and easy to understand and exclude all fishing vessels, Fisheries Minister Björn Scheran tells NRK.
In the general discussion, the government noted the need for exceptions linked to the special Norwegian-Russian cooperation on fishing in the Sea of Children.
But the exception that now comes is generally included for all fishing vessels. This means, for example, that fishing boats coming from the North Sea or fishing boats going to the Norwegian shipyard may come to the pier, assures the Minister of Fisheries.
– Can all Russian fishing vessels come to the port, no matter where they are and where they are heading?
Yes, with one reservation. We also have a list of sanctions that apply to some Russian people. But since the fishing vessel is not owned by one of these, fishing puzzles can connect in a Norwegian port even after the port ban goes into effect.
– So it is not required that fishing boats come from the Barents Sea?
– We offer a penalty package where we make it clear, simple and easy to handle. This means that all Russian fishing vessels will be exempted from the ban and can go to the Norwegian port.
A fishing boat call
Tal NRK, from the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s Maritime Traffic Center, has obtained that a Russian ship arrived at berth 1595 gongs in Norway last year.
– A large number of these are fishing vessels, says Ståle Sveinungsen, head of the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s Maritime Traffic Center in Vardo.
Statistics show that there were 978 calls in Norwegian ports from Russian fishing vessels last year. In other words, about 60 percent of the calls come from fishing boats. The Norwegian Coastal Administration assures NRK that the traffic picture was somewhat similar in the first quarter of 2022.
From 978 fishing boat calls can The 534 is directly related to the Norwegian-Russian cooperation in fisheries management in the Barents Sea since there are boats entering the Norwegian port from the Barents Sea after fishing there.
About 600 Russian ships number are fishing vessels, largely carriers and cargo vessels, the Norwegian Coastal Administration has reported to the NRK. Seismic ships examining the sea floor are also included in the statistics for ships that normally enter Norwegian docks. These ships that do not fish will not be allowed to enter Norwegian ports from now on. But they are a minority.
Tala means the port ban will affect less than 40 percent of Russian ship voyages to Norway.
– Isn’t that a little hollow, Skjæran?
– number. We are now introducing a new package. These are the most severe sanctions in history against any single country. Similar to the European Union, we provide exemptions for fishing vessels. We do this according to our model. Sanctions work and will have a stronger effect over time.
My exception goes too far
The Liberal Party was the strongest driver of the closure of Norwegian ports. Parliament’s representative, Ola Elvestoin, is not satisfied with the decision’s facilities.
– They’ve had a long time, but it’s good that Norway is finally following the EU and putting a ban on Russian ships, Elvestuen tells NRK.
– men The ban should also apply to Russian fishing boats in Norway. This is what Ukrainians need, who are now defending our common freedom with life as an effort.
The government believes that both the closing of the port and the exemption of fishing vessels mean that in practice we are on the same line with the rest of the European Union.
On the other hand, Greger Mannsverk, director of the Kimek Shipyard, one of the largest in Kirkenes, is pleased that fishing vessels are still allowed into the city.
– That’s what we were hoping for, but we got into the fear that they’d shut down to everyone, he tells NRK.
Been working for a long time with clarifications
The government had warned earlier that Russian ships would not be as welcome on Norway’s docks as they were before.
Just before Easter, the European Union decided to close EU ports to Russian ships from April 16.
– As previously mentioned, we will join the EU’s decision to close ports to Russian ships, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store (Labour) said when he discussed the Ukraine war in Parliament on Tuesday of this week.
But at the same time, the Prime Minister made it clear that the regulations have not yet been drawn up, and that it will take time to prepare them. NRK understands that discussions with the EU over detailed clarifications have continued in full in the last few days until the final decision in the Prime Minister this morning.
Earlier this week, conservatives in the European Parliament called for progress in assessments so that Russian ships do not end up in Norwegian ports on other European ports where they are left out.
Today, they are satisfied with the decision, but not impressed with the pace.
– It is good that the government has finally finished imposing a ban on the ports, with the necessary exceptions. Conservatives have been calling for this for a long time, and we have supported the government to do so for several weeks, says the chair of the Norwegian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, In Eriksen Soered (H).
fuel and supplies
Ståle Sveinungsen in the center of maritime traffic is a sign that safety at sea will not be impaired even if the ports are closed to some types of Russian ships. He notes that Russian ships go ashore in Norwegian ports to buy fuel and supplies and make changes to the crew.
– It depends entirely on the operation of the ship.
– What’s the worst that could happen next?
Some ships run out of bunkers (fuel) and end up working towards land. Of course, that’s not something we want, says Sveinungsen. He assures that if Russian ships ask for help, they will get it.
Foreign Minister Anneken Heitfeldt (Labour) ensures that safety at sea is well taken care of.
– In such cases, one will be able to call in Norwegian ports, she says.