No charges of poaching have yet been brought against the Estonian crew of a Finnish fishing vessel detained by Russian authorities Wednesday, foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said Thursday.
The vessel, the Roxen, which belongs to Morobell, a company based in the western Estonian town of Haapsalu, was detained after finding her way into the economic zone of the Russian Federation, of the coast of the Kaliningrad exclave, BNS reports, catching 7.5 tonnes of sprat during the two hours it was in the area.
The border department of the Russian Federal Security Service said Wednesday that it had apprehended the vessel, news agency Interfax reported.
The Roxen was flying the Finnish flag, due to fishing rights and quotas, BNS reports, and was already carrying 340 tonnes of legally-caught fish; she was supposed to continue on to port in Denmark for unloading, it is reported.
The boat ended up in Russian waters thanks to an error in its electronic navigational charts, Morobell board member Raivo Baum told daily Postimees, and the complement of sprat caught in those waters formed the basis for Russian authorities' suspicions of poaching.
Baum added that Russian authorities will not confiscate the portion of the catch obtained from the authorized zone, though damages exceed 49 million rubles (674,000 euros) according to preliminary investigations, Interfax said. The captain of the ship faces liability in line with the Russian legislation.
Foreign minister Reinsalu said that his ministry remains in close communication with its Finnish counterpart, as well as Morobell, and Roxen's captain, and that a consul is due to be sent to Kaliningrad to help seek a solution.
He added that the crew is well, and that Morobell is also actively pursuing solutions to the situation.
Editor: Andrew Whyte