Sept. 26 (UPI) -- South Korea's military fired more than 10 warning shots at a trespassing North Korean ship after issuing broadcast warnings, local authorities said Friday.
The North Korean crew was repatriated to North Korea after expressing a willingness to return, Seoul said.
South Korea took action after the North Korean ship had crossed into the South's side of the Northern Limit Line on Thursday, located in the Yellow Sea, or West Sea, Newsis reported.
"Yesterday [Sept. 26] we issued several broadcast warnings after seeing a North Korean ship moving across the NLL," a South Korean military official said. "We fired warning shots once they crossed the NLL."
The official also said the North Korean boat was warned "in accordance with procedure" and that more than 10 shots were fired at the boat in two rounds, using a K-6 heavy machine gun.
Newsis' source also said the North Korean ship stopped moving when the shots were fired, that the North Korean crew did not engage in "hostile activity" and no weapons were found on board.
The apprehended boat was handed over to North Korea on Thursday at 7:33 p.m. local time, Seoul said. The transfer took place in an area about 5.5 miles west of Yeonpyeong -- a South Korean island that was bombarded in 2010.
The North Korean boat had traveled as far as 1.9 miles south of the NLL, a disputed maritime border. The 3-ton vessel measured about 33 feet in length and four crew members were on board, wearing North Korean fisheries supervisory corps uniforms.
The boat had wandered into the South's waters because it may have taken a wrong route and because of electrical problems, Seoul's authorities said.
The North Korean crew said they had no desire to remain in the South and asked to be returned, according to the report.
The incident at sea is being reported at a time when North Korea could be preparing for military-related activity.
Satellite imagery analysis published on 38 North on Thursday indicate one of two submersible test stand barges for North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile program was berthed at the quay and likely operational.
"It is reasonable to conclude that the barge is now complete and would require continued upkeep to remain a viable part of North Korea's ballistic missile program," analysts said.