News

M/Y Ragnar Denied Fuel in Norway

17 March 2022By Lauren Beck
Credit: Guy Fleury

Written by

Lauren Beck

Editor Lauren Beck has been with Dockwalk since 2006. At 13, she left South Africa aboard a 34-foot sailing boat with her family and ended up in St. Maarten for six years. Before college, she worked as crew for a year, and then cut her journalistic teeth at Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal online. She loves traveling, reading, tennis, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. Email her at lauren@dockwalk.com.

The 68-meter M/Y Ragnar has been unable to leave Norway after being denied fuel by local suppliers in the Port of Narvik. The news was confirmed by Capt. Robert Lankester, who wrote a statement on the vessel’s current status on March 15.

Ragnar and its crew had been cruising the Norwegian fjords for several months and arrived in the Port of Narvik on February 17. However, in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the vessel’s presence in Norway provoked a strong reaction from the local community after it was linked to an owner with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

In the statement, Lankester said that Ragnar had been refused fuel in an act of “discrimination” by suppliers, the local administration, and the Norwegian government, leaving its 16-strong crew stranded. 

“[They] agree it is okay to fuel the Russian fishing fleet and allow them to operate in Norwegian waters and ports unhindered, as this makes up 20 percent of northern Norway’s economy,” he wrote. “However, they are happy to discriminate against this yacht for publicity in the current climate.”

Credit: Guy Fleury

“As a western crew, we are very disappointed in the double standards that certain factors of Norway have inflicted on the yacht and crew,” he added, although he thanked both the port and the police for their “ongoing support and understanding.”

Lankester noted that the vessel and its beneficial owner are not on any European or UK sanctions list that would prevent them from free movement in Europe. “We find the discrimination towards us extremely unjust,” the captain wrote.

Ragnar began life as an ice-breaking tug before she was converted into an ice-classed explorer at Icon Yachts in 2020. She was halfway through a two-year circumnavigation when she arrived in Norway.

Dockwalk reached out to the Port of Narvik, who have not yet responded.

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