Russia seizes Japanese fishing boat

Kyodo

A Japanese fishing boat was seized by border guards off Russia’s eastern coast in the Sea of Japan, the Aomori Prefectural Government said Monday.

Russian authorities apparently suspect the 138-ton Genei Maru No. 5 with nine crewmen on board was engaged in poaching in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.

The vessel, out of Hachinohe port in Aomori Prefecture, was ordered Sunday by a patrol ship to halt in Russia’s exclusive economic zone and was found by inspectors to be carrying 30 tons of salmon and 100 kg of salmon roe, they said.

The Foreign Ministry said it has information that the boat was towed to the port city of Olga and officials said they were trying to confirm this with Russian authorities.

The boat’s owner said the drift-netter was catching salmon in Japan’s economic waters and it might have accidentally strayed into the Russian zone with caught fish aboard.

Crew members reported to the owner Sunday morning that the boat was going to be inspected, but there has been no contact since that afternoon, the owner said.