North Korea detains Russian crabber for alleged incursion

Xiang Hai Lin 8 in 2017 Image: MarineTraffic.com/Vladimir Kravchenko Xiang Hai Lin 8 in 2017

Moscow's RIA news agency reports that a Russian crab boat has been detained by authorities in North Korea for its alleged illegal incursion into the latter country's waters.

The 300-tonne Xiang Hai Lin 8 was detained on July 17 with its crew of 15 Russian and two South Korean nationals being held in a hotel in the port city of Wonsan, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang has confirmed.

North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the vessel entered the country's territorial waters illegally, a claim which officials in Moscow have since denied.

Russian fisheries agency Rosrybolovstvo said the seizure itself was illegal as Xiang Hai Lin 8 was merely transiting an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an act which is allowed under international law.

The crab boat crew had also deliberately sailed well beyond North Korean territorial waters during transit, the agency added.

Russian embassy officials have said their office will continue to negotiate with the North Korean government for the safe return of Xiang Hai Lin 8 and its crew and for the peaceful resolution of the situation.

Moscow had earlier claimed that it would suspend talks on fisheries cooperation with Pyongyang until the vessel and its crew were released from the latter's custody.

Meanwhile, Russian consular officials in North Korea were allowed to meet with the detained crew on Monday, July 22. All have been described as being in good health.

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