Russia seizes two Chinese fishing boats

July 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM
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MOSCOW, July 18 (UPI) -- Russia seized two Chinese fishing ships and detained 36 fishermen after the vessels entered its exclusive far eastern economic zone, China's Xinhua reported.

The official Chinese news agency quoted the Chinese Consulate in Vladivostok as confirming Tuesday that one ship carrying 17 fishermen, and another with 19 fishermen, were detained. The report said both ships were from the city of Weihai.

The consulate said it was notified by the coastal service in Russia's far eastern Primorsky region the two ships were seized because they had entered Russia's exclusive economic zone.

Russia's RIA-Novosti news agency, quoting a spokesman for the local border guards services, said a coast guard boat was forced to open fire to stop a poaching fishing vessel in the Sea of Japan. The spokesman said the vessel, flying the flag of China, refused to stop on demand from the coast guards and tried to escape, resulting in a three-hour chase.

The news agency said the vessel carried about 25 tons of squid and quoted the spokesman as saying 17 Chinese nationals failed to present documents allowing them to fish. The report said no one was injured.

There were no details involving the second ship.

Xinhua said one ship was detained at the port of Nakhodka, while the other ship was heading there.

An editorial in China's Global Times said illegal fishing by Chinese fishermen occurs frequently in that area, but few incidents have led to such serious consequences.

"But still, firing at a fishing ship is a violent form of law enforcement and is unacceptable," the newspaper said, adding: "We don't believe the Russian border patrol authorities specifically target Chinese ships. But it is unacceptable, regardless of what country's ship they were aiming at.

"Chinese fishermen have their share of the blame. They need a better understanding of international law. When being chased by armed ships, risky actions must be avoided," the newspaper said.

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