• Kyodo

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A crab-fishing boat and its crew returned Monday to the port of Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, two weeks after being seized by Russia for allegedly fishing illegally in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

With all 10 members reported to be healthy, Nobuhiro Funakoshi, the 64-year-old chief fisherman of the Yoshi Maru No. 38, told reporters at the port: “We are relieved. We felt nothing but uncertainties and uneasiness.”

After their release in Nakhodka, the 122-ton boat left for home on Saturday.

About 5.6 million rubles (about ¥14 million) has been paid for the release of the Yoshi Maru No. 38 and its crew, according to Russian authorities.

Before departing Nakhodka, the boat transferred crabs stored in its hold to Russian authorities.

Hiyoshi Suisan, the Sakaiminato-based seafood processor that owns the boat, said it made a payment as demanded by Russian authorities for the return of the boat and the release of the crew members, without disclosing the amount.

The fishing boat was seized Jan. 27.

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