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VLADIVOSTOK, August 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru-2, detained by Russia’s border guards in the Sea of Okhotsk, has been released on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Magadan department of the Russian border guard services said.
“The investigation has been completed, and it (the ship) is to leave the port at 7pm local time,” the spokesman added. He said he had no information on whether the ship was fined.
The Shonan Maru-2 has 20 crewmembers, all of them feel well, the border guard department said.
The Japanese whaling ship was detained by a patrol ship of Russia’s border guard department for Kamchatka Krai and on August 18 convoyed to Magadan - the nearest port from the detention site.
According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Japanese ship crew’s last report came on August 11, saying that the vessel was sailing towards the Sea of Okhotsk. The whaling ship on that day was sailing west of the Kunashir Island of the Kuril chain.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the 712-ton Shonan Maru No. 2 left Japan on August 8 to visually examine whales in the Sea of Okhotsk at the request of the government-linked Fisheries Research Agency. The agency said the Shonan Maru-2 ship violated the Russian border by mistake.
The ship, which used to accompany Japan’s research whaling fleet in voyages to the Antarctic Sea, has been conducting a visual check of whales in accordance with plans of the International Whaling Commission, according to Kyodo.
In March 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICC) in The Hague banned Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic waters. However, Japan continues whale hunting in the north of the Pacific and in the Arctic for research purposes.
Gray whales of the so-called Korean population regularly come to the Sea of Okhotsk during the summer period.