North Korea detains Russian yacht in Sea of Japan 'by mistake' — embassy

Sat 17 June 2017 05:30 GMT | 09:30 Local Time

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North Korea detained and escorted a Russian yacht Katalexa "by mistake," the spokesman for Russia’s embassy in Pyongyang told TASS on Friday.

In response to a request from the Russian diplomatic mission to clarify the circumstances behind the incident with the Russian yacht, the North Korean Foreign Ministry expressed this position, Denis Samsonov said, according to TASS.

North Korean diplomats claim that local fishers showed "extreme vigilance" and reported to the border guard service about a ship that allegedly crossed the North Korean border. North Korea assured the embassy, Samsonov said, that "the incident has been settled" and the Katalexa is allowed to leave the Rajin port on Saturday, June 17 after undergoing the necessary formalities.

Earlier, the Russian embassy had demanded to release the Russian citizens onboard the Katalexa and "expressed bewilderment" over a statement of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s consular department that the yacht was detained while sailing in the Sea of Japan for violating the country’s border.

According to Samsonov, the Russian yacht was detained in the area located no closer than 50 miles away from the shore.

Now the Katalexa is moored at the port of Rajin, in the country’s northeast. Russia’s Consul-General in Chongjin Yury Bochkarev is staying there. He met with the crew members and found out details of the incident. An operations headquarters has been set up at Russia’s embassy in Pyongyang.

The Katalexa yacht had been towed from Taiwan to Russky Island off Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, the regional Yachting Sport Federation told TASS. According to this organization, three crew members were onboard the yacht.

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