A Japanese fishermen’s association said Wednesday that one of cod fishing boats was seized by Sakhalin authorities at sea and taken it to a Russian-controlled island in the Kuril archipelago, for which the two countries have a long-standing dispute, Kyodo news agency reported.
Six fishermen were on the boat but further details were not known, said an official at Habomai fishermen’s cooperative association in Japan’s northern region of Hokkaido.
According to media reports, the vessel set sail from the Nemuro port and was fishing for cod when Russian authorities approached it. The boat was then inspected by Russian border guards, who ordered the crew to escort them to the southern Kuril island of Kunashir.
The Sakhalin branch of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said the boat was seized for fishing illegally in a Russian exclusive economic zone.
“On Wednesday, during the control and verification activities in relation to foreign vessels fishing in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation, unaccounted for products of aquatic biological resources were found on board the Japanese fishing vessel Sho Maru-68,” said a FSB statement, according to RIA Novosti.
The seizure of the Japanese vessel came after Russia last month released five Japanese fishing boats previously detained near Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.