Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Cambodian vessel detained for poaching in Russia's Far East

VLADIVOSTOK, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Cambodian trawler with 14 Russian crew members onboard has been escorted to the Russian port of Nakhodka, in the Primorye Territory, after being detained for poaching crab, a regional coast guard chief said on Tuesday.

"The crew members did not obey border guards' instructions to stop the vessel. The captain tried to sink the vessel and twice ordered the crew to open the Kingston valves," said Vladimir Lakizo, who heads the region's Border Guard Service for the Russian Federal Security Service.
Kingston valves allow sea water to enter a boat's fuel, water and ballast tanks, and can be used to scuttle a vessel.

The border guards discovered more than 5,000 crabs onboard the vessel, which had already been detained in early 2008 for poaching, although at that time there was not enough evidence to impound the vessel, Lakizo said.

A total of 19 boats, including 11 foreign vessels, have been detained by Russia since the start of the year, he added.

This year, Russia has launched a crackdown on the illegal export of crab and other seafood. Since January, Russia's border guards have returned to the sea more than 246,000 live crabs, with an estimated commercial value of over 170 million rubles ($6.1 million).

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