Roxen captain granted permission to leave Russia, returns to Estonia

The Roxen.
The Roxen. Source: Morobell OÜ

The captain of the Roxen, a Finnish trawler manned by an Estonian crew which was detained by the Border Service of Russia near Kaliningrad in May, was granted permission to leave Russia on Friday. He arrived in Estonia late Friday night.

Daily Postimees (link in Estonian) reported that the captain was confirmed to be at Tallinn Airport at 11:40 p.m. on Friday.

Russian media reported on Tuesday already that changes had been made to an injunction issued to prevent Roxen captain Rezo Kimmel from leaving Russia. Defense attorney Igor Voskoboinik said on Tuesday that Kimmel would no longer be detained at a hotel in Russia until his hearing and could leave the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Friday that this modification to the injunction meant that Kimmel would be permitted to leave Russia.

"The captain could head home thanks to an injunction modified by Russian investigators, albeit with the stipulation that he appear before investigators or in court on specific dates," Leen Lindam, a media adviser at the ministry, told ERR earlier on Friday.

"The captain was accompanied by our diplomat from Moscow in order to provide comprehensive assistance," Lindam noted. "We hope that the captain reaches Estonia soon and without any difficulties."

Roxen, crew detained in May

On May 10, Russian border officials detained the Roxen, which was sailing under the Finnish flag but with an Estonian crew, accusing the crew of fishing in Russia's economic waters without a permit.

According to the Border Service of Russia, the Roxen was intentionally fishing in the Russian economic zone. Kimmel, however, has denied doing so, stating that they were fishing in the Russian zone accidentally as the vessel's navigation device was broken. The fishing boat captain noted that the trawl net had been let down in international waters, and the vessel's equipment did not indicate that they had entered Russia's economic waters during trawling.

Following the posting of €700,000 bail for potential damage to Russian fish resources, the Roxen and three members of its crew were released on June 25. The captain of the vessel, however, was ordered by the court to be detained in a hotel.

Under the terms of his detention, the captain was living in a hotel located in the suburbs of Kaliningrad and had been forbidden to leave the hotel without permission. Every day at 8:50 a.m. and 5 p.m., he was required to call an investigator at the Border Service of Russia to inform them that he is present at the hotel. He was also required to call and inform the authorities whenever he leaves the building.

During this time, the captain's Estonian passport also remained in the hands of the investigator, meaning that the captain would have been around the city without documents and police could have detained him for 72 hours in order to verify his identity.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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