Welcome   Sponsored By
Subscribe | Register | Advertise | Newsletter | About us | Contact us

Image: Stuff / FIS

How a fishing boat in Lyttelton was stolen on the other side of the world

Click on the flag for more information about New Zealand NEW ZEALAND
Thursday, June 08, 2023, 07:20 (GMT + 9)

A fishing trawler in New Zealand is at the centre of an international embezzlement scandal involving Ukraine, Russia and Cyprus.

The Aleksey Slobodchikov is a 4400-ton freezer trawler with 80 sailors catching jack mackerel, southern blue whiting and hoki.

The Aleksey Slobodchikov was found moored at Lyttelton Port on May 31. Source: Stuff

Built in the then-Soviet Union, it’s been in Ukrainian and – most recently – Cypriot ownership.

Seen by Stuff at a Lyttelton Port last week – the vessel has a colourful background.

Ownership of the Aleksey Slobodchikov was allegedly stolen from the Ukrainian state fishery weeks after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 – despite the boat physically being in New Zealand waters.

The Ukrainian ambassador, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, told Stuff his country was trying to get the vessel back.

“We are working with the NZ government on the issue. There are some legal procedures that we must adhere to in this process,” he said.

A spokesperson for the operator, the Japanese corporation Maruha Nichiro, confirmed they were now “talking with the government” about the vessel too.

The vessel has been able to fish in Kiwi waters since 2006, when Maruha Nichiro received permission through the Overseas Investment Office.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and Maritime NZ all said there was no issue with the ship and they weren’t dealing with the Ukrainian government.

“MFAT has not received a request for assistance on this matter and is not aware of any litigation related to the control of the Aleksey Slobodchikov vessel,” a spokesperson said.

“We do not hold any noteworthy information on the ownership of the vessel.”

The Aleksey Slobodchikov was allegedly stolen in complex circumstances which also included the embezzlement of the money paid for chartering of the ship.

The Aleksey Slobodchikov, photographed in 2016, at its home port in Nelson. Source: Stuff

The vessel is named after a WW2 soldier from the Soviet Union who received the USSR’s highest military honour, the Hero of the Soviet Union medal.

It was launched in 1991 in Ukraine, with a lifespan of between 30 and 40 years and is one of a group of four similar Ukrainian vessels fishing in NZ.

The Ukrainian fishery operated the boat for a decade, but in 2000 shifted to using a middle organisation to charter the vessel out.

<--Source: Google / FIS

The ship was effectively chartered out twice, but the ship stayed on their balance sheet.

After Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Ukraine lost authority over the ship as Vladimir Putin annexed the Aleksey Slobodchikov’s home port of Sevastopol.

One of the state fishery’s senior workers, who lived in Sevastopol, then chartered the vessel for so long it would be unusable by the time the contract ended in 2025.

Ukraine alleges that charter fee was paid into a Russian bank account set up by the worker in the name of its state fishery, in an embezzlement scheme.

In 2014, the Aleksey Slobodchikov was also registered on the Russian ship registry, rather than the Ukrainian registry, and without the consent of the charterer Ukraine wasn’t able to register the boat back.

That charterer is a Cypriot trust, the Beautiful Scenery Cyprus International Trust, who now owns the boat, according to MPI.

Who ultimately owns the trust is a mystery, with the New Zealand government unable to tell Stuff.

The trust’s agent, the British-trained lawyer Panagiotis Neocleous, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for bribery in 2017 on an unrelated matter.

Ukrainian politician Dmytro Dobrodomov described the alleged corruption as “absolutely fantastic” in a 2016 interview and said not a single penny was going to Ukraine, despite the ship operating.

Ukraine is now bringing charges against the fishery worker who chartered the boat.

A 2022 charge sheet said the man, Yuriy Gurin, had made NZ$240,000 (USD 145 K) after he opened accounts in the name of the Ukrainian state fishery in Russia.

His gambit is also alleged to have involved a second Ukrainian ship, the Ivan Golubets – which sank off the coast of Mauritania in 2019 killing two – but which had been in New Zealand in 2012.

Panagiotis Neocleous was approached for comment.

Author: James Halpin | Stuff

[email protected]


Click to know how to advertise in FIS
Sep 28, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
Fall in exports and increase in costs
Viet Nam
Sep 27, 07:00 (GMT + 9):
Germany ranked 2nd in importing Vietnamese pangasius in the EU
Russian Federation
Sep 27, 07:00 (GMT + 9):
Reed feed for aquaculture has been developed
Sep 27, 07:00 (GMT + 9):
BAP Certification for Eight Latin American Farms, Hatcheries
European Union
Sep 27, 07:00 (GMT + 9):
Sustainable fisheries in the North-West Atlantic – NAFO decisions in line with scientific advice
Sep 27, 07:00 (GMT + 9):
Six ways the ocean could (potentially) mop up CO2 emissions
Sep 27, 06:50 (GMT + 9):
Fishery exports increase 32% in 5 months on year
Sep 27, 05:00 (GMT + 9):
Distribution of common hake and setback for Prodesur in the CFP
Sep 27, 04:00 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - Barbados hosts largest-ever meeting of FAO fishery body
Russian Federation
Sep 27, 02:20 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - Saudi Arabia and Vietnam have expanded the list of Russian exporters of fish products
Sep 27, 02:00 (GMT + 9):
IN BRIEF - Shrimp has been more profitable for Ecuador than oil
South Korea
Sep 27, 01:00 (GMT + 9):
Korean imports of Russian seafood decreased by half
Sep 27, 00:00 (GMT + 9):
Otros Medios | Industrias Pesqueras: Soluciones innovadoras para la filtración de aceite en pesqueros de GreenOil
United States
Sep 27, 00:00 (GMT + 9):
Other Media | SeafoodSource: New Orleans-based Prime Shrimp shooting for larger share of convenience market
Sep 27, 00:00 (GMT + 9):
Other Media | FishFarmer: Norcod bid for new site is approved

CAPECAL organized a discussion on the current panorama of Giant Squid in Peru
Peru In order to have full knowledge of the reality of Giant Squid, the Peruvian Chamber of Giant Squid (CAPECAL) recently organized the discussion: “The Pending Agenda for the Consolidation of the S...
Europêche calls for a level playing field at EU-China Blue Forum
European Union The Chinese Ministry of natural resources and the European Commission organised last Saturday in Shenzhen (China) the second Ocean Forum under the EU-China Blue Partnership for the Oceans. The goal: t...
Germany ranked 2nd in importing Vietnamese pangasius in the EU
Viet Nam According to statistics from Vietnam Customs, accumulated in the first 8 months of 2023, pangasius exports to Germany reached 23 million USD, up 19% over the same period last year, accounting for 2%. ...
Solomon Islands joins China in blasting Japan over Fukushima water release
United States Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called on Japan to find other options and warned of effects on his South Pacific archipelago Beijing earlier accused Tokyo of treating the ocean as a ‘sewer&rsq...

Maruha Nichiro Corporation
Nichirei Corporation - Headquarters
Pesquera El Golfo S.A.
Ventisqueros - Productos del Mar Ventisqueros S.A
Wärtsilä Corporation - Wartsila Group Headquarters
ITOCHU Corporation - Headquarters
BAADER - Nordischer Maschinenbau Rud. Baader GmbH+Co.KG (Head Office)
Inmarsat plc - Global Headquarters
Marks & Spencer
Tesco PLC (Supermarket) - Headquarters
Sea Harvest Corporation (PTY) Ltd. - Group Headquarters
I&J - Irvin & Johnson Holding Company (Pty) Ltd.
AquaChile S.A. - Group Headquarters
Pesquera San Jose S.A.
Nutreco N.V. - Head Office
CNFC China National Fisheries Corporation - Group Headquarters
W. van der Zwan & Zn. B.V.
SMMI - Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Co., Ltd. - Headquarters
Icicle Seafoods, Inc
Starkist Seafood Co. - Headquearters
Trident Seafoods Corp.
American Seafoods Group LLC - Head Office
Marel - Group Headquarters
SalMar ASA - Group Headquarters
Sajo Industries Co., Ltd
Hansung Enterprise Co.,Ltd.
BIM - Irish Sea Fisheries Board (An Bord Iascaigh Mhara)
CEFAS - Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
COPEINCA ASA - Corporacion Pesquera Inca S.A.C.
Chun Cheng Fishery Enterprise Pte Ltd.
VASEP - Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers
Gomes da Costa
Furuno Electric Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
NISSUI - Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. - Group Headquarters
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization - Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (Headquarter)
Hagoromo Foods Co., Ltd.
Koden Electronics Co., Ltd. (Headquarters)
A.P. Møller - Maersk A/S - Headquarters
BVQI - Bureau Veritas Quality International (Head Office)
UPS - United Parcel Service, Inc. - Headquarters
Brim ehf (formerly HB Grandi Ltd) - Headquarters
Hamburg Süd Group - (Headquearters)
Armadora Pereira S.A. - Grupo Pereira Headquarters
Costa Meeresspezialitäten GmbH & Co. KG
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Headquarters)
Mowi ASA (formerly Marine Harvest ASA) - Headquarters
Marubeni Europe Plc -UK-
Findus Ltd
Icom Inc. (Headquarter)
WWF Centroamerica
Oceana Group Limited
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. - Headquarters
Friosur S.A. - Headquarters
Cargill, Incorporated - Global Headquarters
Benihana Inc.
Leardini Pescados Ltda
CJ Corporation  - Group Headquarters
Greenpeace International - The Netherlands | Headquarters
David Suzuki Foundation
Fisheries and Oceans Canada -Communications Branch-
Mitsui & Co.,Ltd - Headquarters
NOREBO Group (former Ocean Trawlers Group)
Natori Co., Ltd.
Carrefour Supermarket - Headquarters
FedEx Corporation - Headquarters
Cooke Inc. - Group Headquarters
AKBM - Aker BioMarine ASA
Seafood Choices Alliance -Headquarter-
Austevoll Seafood ASA
Walmart | Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Supermarket) - Headquarters
New Japan Radio Co.Ltd (JRC) -Head Office-
Gulfstream JSC
Marine Stewardship Council - MSC Worldwide Headquarters
Royal Dutch Shell plc (Headquarter)
Genki Sushi Co.,Ltd -Headquarter-
Iceland Pelagic ehf
AXA Assistance Argentina S.A.
Caterpillar Inc. - Headquarters
Tiger Brands Limited
National Geographic Society
AmazonFresh, LLC - AmazonFresh

Copyright 1995 - 2023 Seafood Media Group Ltd.| All Rights Reserved.   DISCLAIMER