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Guinea-Bissau detains Senegalese boats urging to release sailors from Oleg Naidenov

January 06, 2014, 23:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 06, 22:49 /ITAR-TASS/. Guinea-Bissau’s authorities have detained several Senegalese fishing boats in a bid to force the authorities of that country to release Ginea-Bissau’s crew members from the Russian fishing trawler Oleg Naidenov, which has been under arrest at the Dakar military port since Sunday, a spokesman for the Russia fisheries agency told Itar-Tass late on Monday, citing an agency’s representative in Africa.

The authorities of Guinea-Bissau urged to released 23 their citizens, who are working with the Oleg Naidenov crew under the agreement between Russia and Guinea-Bissau. According to the spokesman, the Senegalese minister of fishing is expected to come to the area where the Senegalese boats were detained to try to settle the situation.

At the same time, the spokesman said he hoped these developments would have no impacts on plans to organize a meeting between a Russian delegation and the Senegalese authorities on Tuesday.

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.

Earlier on Monday, spokesman for the Russian federal fisheries agency Alexander Savelyev said that the Oleg Naidenov could be released on January 7, after a meeting between Russian representatives with Senegal’s authorities. “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.

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