A Russian yacht and its crew departed the North Korean port of Rajin on June 17 after being detained and taken to the northeastern port on Friday, according to the Russian Embassy in North Korea.
The yacht – the Kataleksa – was stopped by North Korean authorities for what it had alleged was a breach of its sovereign border, despite claims by the Russian embassy that the vessel had come no closer than 50 miles from the DPRK border.
“According to preliminary agreements, on June 17 at 9:50 am local time, the yacht ‘Kataleksa’ left the North Korean port of Rajin. Currently, the yacht is moving in the direction of Zarubino port,” a statement on the Russian Embassy’s Facebook page read.
“The crew is provided with drinking water and food. Estimated time of arrival – evening on 17 June. Korean comrades wished the team of the yacht ‘Kataleksa’ Godspeed,” it added.
The release of the yacht followed discussions between North Korean representatives from Rajin and the port authority with the Russian Consul General, Yury Bochkarev, who travelled to Rajin immediately after the yacht’s detention on Friday.
During the discussions, North Korean authorities said that the vessel had been detained by mistake as it was suspected of being involved in illegal fishing activities.
The embassy reported in an earlier update on its Facebook page that the crew had been treated well by North Korean authorities during their brief period of detention.
Friday’s incident is not the first time North Korea has forcibly detained a Russian yacht, with a similar case occurring in May of 2016.
In that instance, the yacht and its crew were released after two days and, according to the Russian Consul General, the North Koreans admitted the detention of the yacht was a “mistake”.
The maritime border between Russia and North Korea has also witnessed several tense incidents in recent years, with the most significant occurring in October of 2016 when North Korean fishermen attacked Russian border guards after their vessel crossed into Russian territory.
On that occasion Russian federal security forces opened fire on the fishing crew, killing one and wounding eight, after they had attacked Russian authorities attempting to prevent the ship from fleeing Russian territory after it was found to have illegally fished in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.
Several of the sailors involved in the incident have received multi-year prison sentences in Russian penal colonies following subsequent trials.
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Featured Image: Rajin Port by caitriana on 2015-10-05 03:54:56