MOSCOW, January 06, 18:10 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s fishing trawler Oleg Naidenov that has been arrested by the Senegalese authorities on suspicion of illegal fishing in the Senegalese waters may be released on January 7, after a meeting between Russian representatives with Senegal’s authorities, spokesman for the Russian federal fisheries agency Alexander Savelyev said on Monday.
“We hope that after a meeting with the Senegalese president the incident would be over and the trawler will be back in the fishing area in a couple of days,” he said. According to Savelyev, the meeting is planned for January 7. The Russian side will delegate foreign ministry officials and representatives from the federal fisheries agency.
Alexander Biryukov, a federal fisheries agency representative in Mauritania, also expressed the hope that the problem in the Russia-Senegalese relations would be resolved on Tuesday after a meeting between a Russian delegation and the Senegalese president. He said he believed the incident would have no negative impacts on the relations between the two countries. “The president of Senegal hopes for broader cooperation with Russia and wants to regain the level of economic and political relations Senegal used to have with the former Soviet Union,” he said. Trying to explain the incident, Biryukov recalled that the order to arrest the Russian ship had come for the Senegalese minister of fishing, who was the leader of an environmentalist party. “Here, Greenpeace influences are quite obvious,” he noted.
Oleg Naidenov’s captain Vadim Mantorov told journalists over the phone that in the event the talks between the countries yielded positive results and the ship was released on Tuesday, the trawler would leave Dakar in the second half of the day. It would take the trawler less than 24 hours to reach its fishing area in the exclusive economic zone of neighbouring Guinea-Bissau.
The Oleg Naidenov suspected of illegal fishing within Senegalese waters was seized 46 miles of Guinea-Bissau on Saturday with 82 crew onboard, including 62 Russians and 20 citizens of Guinea-Bissau, and convoyed to the port of Dakar on Sunday.
Senegalese Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister Haidar El-Ali said on Sunday Senegal would seize the trawler and impose a maximum fine of nearly 305,000 euros for the offence. But because the Oleg Naydenov is a repeat offender, it “will be fined twice as much, up to 610,000 euros,” he said. The vessel’s cargo is estimated at approximately $540,000.
The Oleg Naidenov is owned by private company Fenix, registered in Murmansk, the extreme northwest part of Russia. It is a big fishing boat of Moonzund type, 120 meters long, built in Germany in 1989.