Japan’s consulate-general in Vladivostok has confirmed the release of Nishino Maru No. 68 and its 10-member crew, which were detained by Russia for illegal crab fishing in January.
Russian authorities ordered the release after the captain of the Japanese crab boat admitted that he and his crew were fishing illegally in an area near the disputed Kuril Islands which is part of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by Moscow.
Nishino Maru No. 68 and its crew have been permitted to return to Japan after the boat’s operator reportedly paid a bond equivalent to 39 million rubles (US$596,000), which was the estimated value of its catch at the time of the seizure.
Japanese officials said that the crew are in good health.