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MURMANSK, January 20, 22:37 /ITAR-TASS/. The owner of the Russian trawler Oleg Naydenov, detained in Senegal since early January, has sustained 18 million roubles’ worth of losses, Yuri Parshev, Director-General of the company that owns the ship, said on Monday, January 20.
He said each day the ship stays idle in a Senegalese port the losses increase by about one million roubles.
“The ship has not been fishing since January 3, when it was detained, with all the maintenance expenses being paid by the owner,” he said.
Parshev told ITAR-TASS earlier that his company’s main efforts were aimed at getting the trawler released and fishing.
The Association of Fishermen Operating off West Africa, of which the Oleg Naydenov’s owner is a member, is ready to pay caution money for the ship. “We are talking about security because Senegal has not officially charged our trawler with a breach of fishing rules. Therefore no fines or other sanctions can be considered,” he said.
The Association is prepared not only to pay security but also to guarantee compliance with law during further investigation and participate in it. It will provide professional lawyers to this end.
However the Senegalese authorities have so far not named the amount of money to be paid as security for the ship’s release. Negotiations with them continued throughout the weekend.
“The final sum has not been named so far. Verbally, the Senegalese authorities stated their readiness to solve the issue today,” Parshev said.
He said that the Senegalese authorities had repeatedly notified the ship owner of their decision to accept security but each time the date was postponed.
Parshev said his company had done all preparations and the money could be transferred to a special account in Senegalese bank. “It is up to the Senegalese side to name the amount of money to be paid as security and officially confirm its readiness to accept it,” the entrepreneur said.
A sum of one million U.S. dollars has been mentioned.
Parshev said the damage the trawler had sustained were not dangerous and would not prevent it from fishing.
“The damage is minor and will not affect the safety of navigation,” he said.
He said his company would not sue for damages even though the incident was properly documented. The crew will fix all problems on their own.
Parshev said all crewmembers were well and had all the necessary supplies.
The Federal Fisheries Agency earlier quoted trawler Captain Vadim Mantorov as saying that the ship had been damaged by another fishing vessel when it was being towed at the port of Dakar. As a result, the Russian trawler got a dent 600 mm high and 470 mm wide.
The trawler Oleg Naydenov was detained off Guinea Bissau on January 4 for suspected illegal fishing, Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Diop, from the public relations office at the Senegalese Army, said.
“The ship was engaged in illegal fishing in our waters not far from the border with Guinea Bissau, south of Senegal,” Agence France Presse quoted him as saying. “This is the third trawler we have detained in one week on similar suspicions.”
Senegal’s Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ali Haidar confirmed Diop’s words on the radio. “The Russian vessel was fishing without proper permits,” he said.
The minister said the trawler had headed to Dakar only after the interference by the military but had ignored marine police’s orders before that. “This trawler is a repeat offender. It has been fishing in Senegalese waters without permission many times,” he added.
The ship was stopped 46 miles off Guinea Bissau on January 3, after which four army officers from the Senegalese warship Ferlo boarded it and ordered the captain to follow them to their vessel. The captain refused to obey.
“After that the military attempted to take the captain to the Senegalese military ship by force, but the chief officer, acting on the captain’s instructions, sounded an alarm,” Federal Fisheries Agency spokesperson Alexander Savelyev said.
For some time, the trawler’s crew imitated engine problems to keep the ship in place.
There were 82 persons aboard the ship - 62 Russians and 20 citizens of Guinea Bissau. The trawler was procuring fish off that African country under an inter-governmental agreement, which requires Russian sailors to take locals aboard for training and work.
The trawler belongs to the closed joint stock company Feniks registered in Murmansk, northern Russia. The company said every idle day of the ship in Dakar would cost it one million roubles. “This is an approximate amount and it may increase depending on the time and terms of demurrage,” Parshev said.
“The trawler has been operating in this region for a long time and took on a new Russian crew in Dakar on December 22 - 62 Russian citizens, mainly residents of the Murmansk Region. The ship entered and left the port unhindered,” he said.
Parshev noted, however, that the Senegalese authorities had repeatedly accused Russian ships of breaching fishing rules and imposed fines upon them, including the Oleg Naydenov.
The Oleg Naydenov is a large factory trawler, 120 metres long. It was built in Germany in 1989 and received its current name in 2005 in honour of Murmansk’s first mayor. Prior to that, its name was Leonid Galchenko.
The crew is staying aboard the ship under the control of the Senegalese military and law enforcers. The sailors’ documents were seized upon detention.