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Senegalese authorities ban arrested Russian trawler crew to go ashore

January 06, 2014, 22:26 UTC+3 RABAT
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RABAT, January 06, 22:19 /ITAR-TASS/. The Senegalese authorities have banned the Russian crew of the Oleg Naidenov fishing trawler, which has been under arrest at the Dakar military port since Sunday, to come ashore, the ship’s captain Vadim Mantorov told Itar-Tass over the phone on Monday.

He said that an inspecting commission had visited the ship earlier on Monday. “The satiation aboard the ship is normal,” he noted. “After the ship called at the Dakar port and berthed here, the crew members have been treated by the Senegalese in a good manner.”

At the same time, he said that the crew was banned to go even at the wharf. “Gunmen are standing at the wharf near the ship’s ladder. We are banned from going ashore. Any outsiders are also banned to come aboard the ship too,” Mantorov said. “They have seized our passports, providing no explanations. So, we don’t even know when the passports would be returned to us.”

Earlier on Monday, Alexander Biryukov, a federal fisheries agency representative in Senegal, told Itar-Tass over the phone that Senegalese officials are treating the crew of the Russian Oleg Naidenov quite adequately. “The wave of tension has subsided, now efforts are being taken to find a solution to the problem through negotiations,” he said.

Biryukov said that the problem could be resolved on Tuesday after a meeting between a Russian delegation and Senegalese President Macky Sall. “Judging by the current development, the Senegalese side wants to settle the problem as soon as possible,” he noted. “We hope the trawler problem will be resolved soon and we hope for further cooperation with Senegal in the area of fishing.”

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 U.S. dollars.

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.

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