Russian fishing boats suspected of spying in Groningen

Russian fishing boats suspected of spying in Groningen

Russian fishing boats that regularly dock at a port near the Dutch city of Groningen have been accused of spying, according to a report by investigative journalism platform Pointer

Russian spies using fishing boats to carry out operations in the Netherlands

According to Pointer, the vessels are docking close to a Dutch military base near the Eemshaven port in Groningen. On May 4, Pointer wrote that Reefer ships from the Russian fishing company Norebo are docking at the port every two weeks, and are suspected to be spying on military activities and seeking information about the Dutch government in the region. 

According to the Belgian broadcaster VRT, Norebo owns more than 40 ships, some of which have been linked to espionage activity in the past. One ship in particular, the Taurus, was found to have made unusual movements in 2022 when American submarines were also patrolling nearby. 

The Netherlands is an important espionage target for Russia

According to a Dutch military intelligence report, the Netherlands is an important espionage target for Russia. Pointer cited the military findings in their report, accusing Russia of mapping infrastructure in the North Sea and "undertaking activities that indicate espionage and preparatory actions for disruption and sabotage.”

When asked about the presence of the ships, Norebo denied the accusations. “Norebo, its group companies and employees have never been, are not and will not be involved in espionage,” a spokesperson told Pointer.

Thumb image credit: Sander van der Werf /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

Read more



Leave a comment