By David Stenerud
Searunner Shipping prides itself of being market leaders on cargo freight from the far east to Norway. On the company website it is advertised with foreign offices in eighteen countries in Asia. One of them is situated in Burma capital Rangoon, and can offer at least two departures from the country every week.
The Oslo based firm is not registered as the owner of the Burmese office: - Myanmar Marine is just an agent, explains market chief Kjetil Øiseth of Searunner.
- But if one wants something moved from Burma to Norway, is Searunner the company to make contact with? asks NorWatch through an email with the market chief.
- That is a hypothetical question, is their answer. And: - We do not need to broadcast Searunner Shippings attitude and conscience towards trading with Burma.
Follow-up question from NorWatch:
- Why do you offer your customers brokering of freight from Burma, if it is just a hypothetical possibility that the offer will be taken?
- Since you are obviously having a hard time understanding I will state the following:
We do not offer freight from a country if no one is trading with the country. You obviously know that last year the imports from Burma were microscopic 10 million NOK: (2000 figures, 2001 figures are slightly higher, editors note). Searunner Shipping has not represented any traders in Burma for the last 5 years. We have a contact in Burma and have no plans of changing this.
The market chief also clarifies:
- There does not exist any official ban on having contacts in Burma.
And he makes a little suggestion in the end:
- You should concentrate on those who do trade in Burma since you seem to be out to expose violations of the Bondevik call not to trade with Burma.
PS: Searunner Shipping does not own ships, and are not members of the Norwegian Shipowner's Association, who has officially gone out and supported the Kjell Magne Bondeviks call for a boycott.
Norwatch Newsletter 3-4/02