Russia’s border security agency on Friday detained North Korean fishing vessels and motorboats carrying 262 crew members on charges of poaching in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), multiple outlets reported.
Three fishing schooners and five motorboats were taken into custody, Interfax news agency said, quoting a spokesperson for the Border Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Primorsky Krai.
Border guards also seized 30,000 squid and prohibited fishing equipment, reports said, with the accused poachers having been taken to the far-eastern port city of Nakhodka in Primorsky Krai for investigation.
“The North Korean fishermen didn’t resist during the inspection of the vessels. The detainees were delivered to the seaside port of Nakhodka on Friday,” a source told the state-run Sputnik International News. “The vessels are anchored at the harbor.”
TASS news agency also reported on the detention of the ship, citing a TV interview with Albina Proskurenko, a spokesperson for the Border Service of the FSB in Primorsky Krai.
The incident is the second of its kind this month, coming over a week after Russian border guards detained two fishing schooners and 11 motorboats — as well as 161 North Koreans — for trespassing in the EEZ.
The DPRK fishermen were arrested near the Yamato Bank, which lies between the Korean peninsula, Russia, and Japan.
During the arrest, the North Korean crew reportedly attacked and injured four border guards by opening fire on the Russian authorities
One of the North Koreans involved was last week said to have died in custody, according to a report by the Russia-24 news network.
TASS has reported that an investigation into the North Korean fisherman who attacked the Russian border guards will proceed onboard the vessels in the presence of the DPRK’s consul general.
The incident has prompted a rift between North Korea and Russia, typically close allies, with DPRK chargé d’affaires in Moscow Jin Jong Hyop having been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) twice in the past week.
Most recently, Jin on Monday met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov over the incident, with the MFA reporting the two had “discussed a set of measures necessary to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
Other high-seas incidents have this year caused tensions between the two countries, too.
In July, North Korea detained 15 Russian crew members and two South Korean technicians on charges of “violating the rules of entry and stay in the DPRK territory.” The sailors were released less than two weeks later.
North Korea the following month dispatched a delegation from its Ministry of Fisheries to Moscow to discuss fishery cooperation between the two countries, with Russia’s foreign ministry at the time urging Pyongyang take “urgent” steps to curb illegal fishing in its waters.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Russia’s border security agency on Friday detained North Korean fishing vessels and motorboats carrying 262 crew members on charges of poaching in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), multiple outlets reported. Three fishing schooners and five motorboats were taken into custody, Interfax news agency said, quoting a spokesperson for the Border Service of the Federal Security
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