VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA – A Japanese salmon boat and its 11 crew members seized by Russian authorities July 17 for alleged illegal fishing will return home Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo said Monday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Sakhalin office also confirmed its planned return on Tuesday.
A local court official on Kunashiri, one of the Russian-held islands claimed by Japan, on Aug. 20 ordered the boat’s captain, Masato Ito, 60, to pay a fine of 200,000 rubles (about ¥360,000). The administrative trial ended last Friday.
The crew members have stayed on the boat, the No. 10 Hoko Maru, at a port on Kunashiri Island for more than one month since the vessel was seized on suspicion of breaching the fishing quota.
The drift-net fishing boat left the Hokkaido port of Nemuro on July 6 for Russia’s exclusive economic zone.
Russia is set to ban that method of fishing in its economic waters from January.