• July 16th, 2020

Samherji pledges to honour its obligations

Samherji, the Icelandic company at the centre of the ‘Fishrot’ scandal, said it is pleased to see the case in which fishing vessel Heinaste skipper Arngrímur Brynjólfsson being fined N$950 000 for illegal fishing coming to its conclusion. 

Brynjólfsson last week pleaded guilty in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court after he was charged for fishing illegally in a restricted zone.  The court, however, dismissed the State’s application for forfeiture of the vessel, arguing it failed to provide sufficient evidence. In a statement yesterday, Samherji’s interim CEO Björgólfur Johannsson said the conclusion of the case triggers new opportunities for the group.  

“For a while Samherji has been disinvesting its operations in Namibia. At this point the group has limited remaining exposure to the country. Of the three vessels that have been fishing in Namibian waters over the past year, Geysir, Heinaste and Saga, only one remains in Namibia,” he said. 

He said Samherji would now work intensively and efficiently for the deployment of Heinaste in Namibian waters.  “We are in the process of reaching out to all relevant Namibian authorities in order to explore common ground for the most beneficial solution. The solution – at least temporarily – will involve chartering the Heinaste to local operators,” he said. He said the most important for Samherji is to find a balanced solution that benefits local workers, the Namibian society and the current minority shareholders in Heinaste. 

“Saga is undergoing maintenance and repair that was planned a while back. Geysir is currently fishing in Mauritania as none of Samherji’s subsidiaries were issued a quota for the ship,” he said. He said before Samherji’s disinvestment in Namibia is finalised, its relevant subsidiaries will fulfil all obligations towards crewmembers who have worked for these companies. 

Johannsson says Samherji representatives have met with the affected fishermen and their unions. “Samherji will strive towards providing employment for as many as possible of those affected, first and foremost related to the Heinaste,” he said.   He said the companies in question would honour their obligations towards all employees. All personnel will be treated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, says Johannsson

Over the past year, he said, Samherji has successfully prevailed in civil legal disputes domestically in Namibia against local contracting parties. 
“Over the past months, some of these parties have made attempts to take advantage of the allegations against the Samherji group to their own benefit,” he said in the statement.
– ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2020-02-07 07:52:19 | 5 months ago

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