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MOSCOW, January 13, 5:35 /ITAR-TASS/. Haidar El-Ali, Senegalse Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Economy, has stated that the Russian trawlr "Oleg Naidyonov" will be released only after a fine is paid.
"The ship is known to us as a habitual poacher. However, notwithstanding that, it will be released as soon as a fine has been paid," the Senegalese Minister told the newspaper Izvestia, which recalls Monday that it was precisely this Minister who issued an order to detain the trawler Oleg Naidyonov.
The rough detention of the Russian trawler occurred early in January, 46 miles off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. During the detention, the Senegalese military inflicted a number of injuries on seamen. Afterwards the ship was escorted to Dakar port.
The Oleg Naidyonov is owned by the private joint-stock-company Feniks (Phoenix) registered at Murmansk. There are 62 Russians and 20 citizens of Guinea-Bissau on board the ship.
"A commission of the Senegalese Fisheries Ministry visited the ship and did not find any breaches. However, we did not receive any certificate about a conclusion drawn by the commission as a result of its work there," Alexander Biryukov, Representative of the Rosrybolovstvo (Federal Agency for Fishery) in Senegal, told Itar-Tass earlier.
On January 9, the Associated Press news agency repoted that over 300 Senegalese fishermen had urged their government to take measures against illegal fisheries by Russian boats in the republic's waters. According to the AP report, the discontent was provoked by the fact that a large number of Russian trawlers had begun to operate in the area of late, with neighbouring Guinea-Bissau being used as a resting base.
The Fishermen's Association of Senegal reproaches Russia for poaching at a time when no official charges have been brought against the arrested trawler "Oleg Naidyonov", Alexander Savelyev, head of the Rosrybolovstvo's publi relations center, said in reply. "In order to speak of an illegal fishery, one must bring charges, which has not been done up to now because at the moment of arrest, the trawler was within the exclusive economic zone of Guinea-Bissau, not Senegal," he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the ship's captain Vadim Mantorov told journalists by telephone that the Senegalese authorities had tried to persuade him into signing a report containing false coordinates of the place where the ship had been at the moment of detention.
"Navigating officers from a Coast Guard ship came up to me on January 7 and demanded signing a report listing coordinates, which were not true to actuality, of the ship Oleg Naidyonov at the moment of its seizure. According to those fictitious coordinates, the ship allegedly crossed into Senegal's waters for a mile," Mantorov pointed out.
Two days ago, Rusisa's Foreign Ministry said, "Our diplomats in Senegal go ahead with energetic efforts to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian citizens on board the ship, including the freedom of movement beyond the ship".
A Ministry official said intensive talks were uder way with the shipowner's representative in Senegal with a view to determining terms for the release of the Russian trawler Oleg Naidyonov, which would enable the ship and its crew to leave Dakar port and direct the efforts towards settling the problem into a purely legal channel.