Question: Could you comment on the accusations from Vilnius that Russian officials illegally detained the Lithuanian vessel, the Juros Vilkas, which was sailing in international waters?
Answer: I can confirm that on 18 September, in the central part of the Barents Sea, a patrol boat of the Border Control Department of the Federal Security Service in the Murmansk Region inspected the Juros Vilkas fishing vessel flying the flag of Lithuania and identified violations of the rules for catching aquatic biological resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation. The inspection found about 15 tonnes of illegally caught crab onboard the ship.
In addition, Vilnius intentionally ignores the fact that during the inspection, the captain of the Lithuanian ship attempted to escape to the Norwegian exclusive economic zone with the Russian inspectors onboard. As a result, Russian border guards, acting in full compliance with Russian and international law, exercised their right to pursue the ship, which was delivered to the port of Murmansk on 22 September.
Currently, legal proceedings are under way to investigate the circumstances of the administrative offence.
The Lithuanian Consulate General in St Petersburg has been informed of the ship’s detention. A representative of the Lithuanian Consulate General has arrived in Murmansk to perform the appropriate consular duties.
24 September 2014