Government rejects compensation of EUR 62 million to “Norwegian Gannet”

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Hav line believes a reg change has pulled the rug from under the company’s major investment.

Hav Line believes that “Norwegian Gannet” had all the necessary government approvals in place well before the processing boat was built at the Balenciaga shipyard in Spain.

As the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries five months after the takeover of the boat changed the quality regulations, and with doing so took away the company’s business model.

Government lawyer Torje Sunde to the left. Photo: Aslak Berge

The company believes this forms the basis for a compensation claim of EUR 62 million (NOK 716.7 million.)

Read also: The long-waited survival trial for “Norwegian Gannet” starts next week

Limited documentation
Government lawyer Torje Sunde argues in Bergen District Court Wednesday morning for the government’s view on this case. He, as a representative of the government, believes there were not enough approvals in place before “Norwegian Gannet” started their business.

“There is limited written documentation on this. The correspondence has varied for what the concept applies, the so-called “Hav Line method”, as well as which companies and players this applies to,” Sunde points out.

The legal basis for a claim from Hav Line is that the state amended section 17 of the quality regulation and demanded that sorting of production fish “shall be done inland”, five months after the disputed processing vessel “Norwegian Gannet” was handed over to its owners.

Few meetings
“There were some scattered meetings, really very few meetings, when you see the investments in the ship,” says Sunde, referring to meetings and correspondence, and documentation on this, between the shipowner’s and the Norwegian authorities.

The shipping company Hav Line is owned 50/50 between the fish farming family Haugland and salmon exporter Bård Sekkingstad.

The government argues in court, in particular, for the reputation risk for Norwegian salmon by exporting unsorted “production fish”, fish with defects and blemishes, before correction.

Hav Line’s lawyer Trond Hatland in his introductory lecture was crystal clear that the quality of the processing boat is not lower than at other processing plants.

Blood fresh
“There is no one else in Norway today, there are no other Norwegian processing plants, which deliver a better quality,” Hatland said, highlighting, among other things, the superior freshness that the processing boat guarantees.

From harvested fish collected in the southern or western Norway, it reaches Denmark within eight or 20 hours respectively.

Hav Line’s other attorney, Karl O. Wallevik, argued Tuesday that quality and reputation are temporary arguments.

“Hav Line believes that the focus on fish quality and reputation is emphasised by the state, while the reality is to protect Norwegian jobs. It is an action to divert attention,” Wallevik said.