Russian ship in Arctic chase

The coast guards had tried to detain the Elektron but the trawler resisted and then headed for the Russian port of Murmansk with inspectors onboard and the Norwegian coast guard in pursuit.

The coast guard had tried to snag the trawler’s propeller with a rope to force it to stop, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Russian captain as saying.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said it was a serious matter.

“We want to follow this boat, get back the Norwegian inspectors aboard and show that we don’t take suspicions of illegal fishing lightly,” he told Norwegian NRK radio.

The daily Aftenposten reported on its website that the coast guard vessel Tromsoe was considering firing a warning shot in the direction of the Elektron, a move which could spark a diplomatic spat between Norway and Russia.

The Russian ship’s captain, identified as Yarantsev, also reported by radio that the pursuing ships had been preparing to open fire on his vessel, Itar-Tass reported, adding that Norwegian officials denied the pursuers received any such order.

The trawler was first stopped on Saturday in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, in waters over which Norway claims full sovereignty.

“The ship was transporting various types of illegal equipment, including nets which pick up just about everything, including small fish and fry,” Norwegian navy spokesman John Espen Lien told newsagency AFP.

Two inspectors boarded the Elektron, and the ship headed for the Tomsoe following orders from Norwegian authorities.

But the trawler then changed its route on Sunday, Mr Espen Lien said, but he refused to comment on reports that the Tromsoe was considering firing a warning shot.

In Moscow an official at Russia’s navy headquarters, Igor Dygalo, said Russia’s navy would not interfere in the affair.

“In accordance with international maritime law, the Russian navy won’t interfere in this situation. Everything will be solved on a diplomatic level and by the vessel’s owner,” Mr Dygalo said.

Posted in 上海性息网