VILNIUS, September 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Lithuania has asked Russian law enforcement agencies to release its ship detained in the Barents Sea on suspicions of poaching, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Rasa Jakilaitiene said on Thursday.
“The ship has been detained and its captain is facing administrative penalties,” she said, adding that lawyers had asked for the ship to be bailed out.
“The decision on the bail and its possible size will be made by court next week,” the spokeswoman said.
Lithuania has also asked the European Commission to help resolve the incident. “We have asked the European Commission to represent in court the interests of the detained ship,” Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitiene said.
On September 18, during an inspection by the Russian border guards, the Lithuanian ship Juros Vilkas (Sea Wolf) was found to have violated fishing rules in Russia’s exclusive economic zone and illegally procured about 15,000 tons of crab.
Russian border guards who detained a Lithuanian ship in the Barents Sea were acting in strict compliance with international law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
The border guards had to chase the ship as its captain had tried to lead it away to Norway’s economic zone, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
“Vilnius has intentionally ignored an important fact that the captain of the Lithuanian ship made an attempt to steer it to Norway’s economic zone, while holding a group of Russian border guard service inspectors onboard,” the ministry said. The Russian border guards, acting in compliance with Russian and international law, had to pursue the ship, Lukashevich said.