SIMFEROPOL, January 28. /TASS/. Vladimir Gorbenko, the captain of Russia’s Nord fishing vessel detained in the Azov Sea last March, has gone missing, being out of reach since Saturday, lawyer Maksim Mogilnitsky wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.
"Dear friends, captain of the Nord fishing boat Vladimir Gorbenko has gone missing. According to his relatives, Vladimir left his house at about noon last Saturday and no one has seen him ever since. The captain is out of reach for his family and lawyers," he wrote.
According to the lawyer, there have been such incidents with the captain before. "Thus, in April 2018, the captain was abducted by Ukrainian Security Service officers right from the Nord vessel that was detained at the port of Mariupol," he noted, adding that back then his lawyers learnt about his whereabouts only five hours later. "So, you see, we have all the grounds for worried," Mogilnitsky wrote.
In March 2018, the Ukrainian border guard service detained Russia’s fishing boat The Nord with a crew of ten Russian citizens on board in the Sea of Azov. Captain Vladimir Gorbenko was accused of "violating the rules of visiting Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territory and leaving it and of causing harm to the interests of the state."
The Kherson city court on April 10 released him on bail in exchange for promise to report to the investigators. The other sailors were awarded a fine. Gorbenko was eventually charged with illegal fishing.
Two sailors managed to leave Ukraine shortly after the incident while the rest were kept in Ukraine for seven months as Kiev did not let them do that with Russian documents. On OcTober 30, 2018, seven Russian sailors were exchanged for the same number of Ukrainian fishermen from two boats, YaMK-0041 and YaOD-2105, detained earlier for illegal fishing activities near Crimea.
Hearings into Gorbenko’s case have been postponed till February 1.