The captain on the sailing vessel «Arktika» will not accept the NOK 25.000 fine. He got his passport back today.

- The case will now be sent over to the district court in Nord-Troms, where it will be heard. The captain will then have to meet in court for judgement, vice governor Berit Sagfossen says.

The captain's passport has been confiscated while the case has been investigated. It has been returned to the captain today.

The fine was issued by the Regional Public Prosecutor in Troms and Finnmark because of violation of the prohibition to go ashore on Kong Karl's land, illegal import of dogs to Svalbard and for not having notified the Governor of Svalbard as imposed in accordance with "Regulations relating to tourism and other activities in Svalbard", nor complied to the requirements for Search & Rescue insurance. This is from August 24 till the middle of October.

The purpose of the regulation is – among others – to ensure safety for individual visitors to Svalbard and to ensure that travel plans do not violate Svalbard's untouched environment with respect to continuous areas of wilderness, plants and animals and cultural heritage and to ensure that laws and regulations are followed.

Svalbard is one of the last lage wilderness areas in Europe. On Kong Karl's land it is totally forbidden to go ashore all year because the islands are one of the most important breeding grounds for polar bears on Svalbard. Here, the traffic prohibition also applies within a 500 meter zone surrounding the islands and in the air. It is very important that people who travel in these areas respects the rules and regulations. Most travellers do that, and it is important to react when the rules are violated.

It is not allowed to import dogs to Svalbard without permission from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. There are strict rules for importing dogs to Svalbard, inter alia due to the risk of rabies contagion.

In consideration of the health of the animals, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority issued a temporary permission for one month to take the dogs ashore in Longyearbyen. This permission is now prolonged until July 19 2017.We then presupposes that the existing rules will be respected.

"Arktika" was towed to Longyearbyen in the middle of October by the Governor's vessel "Polarsyssel". "Arktika" was in Duvefjorden on Nordaustlandet and had problems with its engine. Duvefjorden is in an area with strict traffic restrictions, and the vessel could not stay there.