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VLADIVOSTOK, July 26 (Itar-Tass) - Four North Korean fishermen, saved by a tanker of the Russian Pacific Fleet, are on their way back home from the sea port of Nakhodka in Russian Primorye.
Staffers of the North Korean Consulate General in Nakhodka brought them to Khasan on Friday from where they left for North Korea on train, diplomatic sources said.
The engine of their fishing schooner failed, and the small ship had to drift in the Sea of Japan (the East Sea) for 15 days before being rescued on Tuesday. The North Korean sailors gave the Mayday signal only in “the absolutely force majeure circumstances,” a Korean diplomat said.
He also said that the North Korean Consulate General had sent a letter of gratitude for the rescue of the fishermen to the Russian Pacific Fleet. The same letter went to the Primorye border department of the Russian Federal Security Service for quick paperwork needed to return the seamen back home.
The Russian sailors came to the rescue of the vessel in distress with four North Korean fishermen on board right after receiving the Mayday signal from them in the morning on July 16, the press service of the Pacific Fleet reported.
The crew of the tanker VTN-82 with Captain Georgy Safonov at the head arrived at the site where the schooner was drifting, took her in tow and towed to the port Nakhodka on July 16.
“The Pacific Fleet’s naval sailors came to the aid of the North Korean fishermen during the naval exercises of the Pacific Fleet, held during large-scale snap drills of the forces of the Eastern Military District,” the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
All fishermen are residents of the city of Chonjin situated on the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula.