The crew members of a Japanese crab fishing boat detained by Russian authorities in late January are likely to be released, along with their vessel, this week, according to sources in both governments.
The 10-member crew of the Nishino Maru No. 68 has been fined for fishing illegally in Russia’s exclusive economic zone. The captain has admitted to doing so without the necessary documentation.
Russian authorities claimed the illegal fishing caused economic damage of at least 39 million rubles (about ¥66.2 million) and filed a complaint with a court calling for an administrative measure.
The boat’s operator has paid a bond equivalent to the amount of alleged damage.
Russian authorities are expected to start procedures to free the crew after payment is confirmed. A Japanese Foreign Ministry source said the release may take place within the week.
The boat left port in Sakaiminato, Shimane Prefecture, on Jan. 26. It was seized Jan. 30 in the Sea of Japan and taken to Nakhodka in the Russian Far East.
A crab fishing boat from the same port was seized by Russian authorities in January 2009. All 10 crew members were released in early February that year after making a payment to Russian authorities.
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