SIMFEROPOL, April 11. /TASS/. Owners of the Nord, a Russian fishing vessel arrested in Ukraine, will press for its return once the situation with the captain and the crew is settled, a spokeswoman for the ship’s owner has told TASS.
"When the crew returns and when the captain’s fate becomes clear, we will start the process of having the ship returned to us," said Anna Sheveleva, a spokeswoman for the First of May Kerch fishing collective.
According to Sheveleva, the vessel is currently moored at the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk.
Earlier media reports said that the ship’s captain Vladimir Gorbenko was released from a pretrial detention center in the Ukrainian city of Kherson on Tuesday. Other nine crew members were questioned at the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) department in Kherson. Their fate will be known later.
On March 25, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service detained a vessel flying the Russian flag with a crew of ten Russian citizens, the residents of the Crimean city of Kerch, in the Sea of Azov.
The fishing vessel’s captain is charged with "violating the procedure of entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it for the purpose of causing damage to the state’s interests," which envisages an imprisonment for a term of up to five years and also the confiscation of the ship.
On April 6, a court in Kherson, Ukraine, ruled to arrest the captain until May 31. However, he was not released on bail until April 10, although the payment had been made immediately.
Simultaneously, the Primorsky District Court of Mariupol in Ukraine imposed administrative fines on all members of the crew for the total sum of about $1,200. They were allowed to leave the vessel. However, on April 10, they were ordered to give testimony as part of the criminal case against the vessel’s captain.
The Ukrainian border guards did not let the crew members leave the country citing the lack of necessary documents as a pretext.