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Kamchatka court orders confiscation of poacher ship

The court of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has ruled to confiscate the poacher schooner Eri Caristine, seized for poaching in Russian territorial waters in August 2006, sources from the local environmental prosecutor's office told Tass on Thursday.

The vessel belonged to a Taiwan fishing company. It is registered at the Georgian port of Batumi. The crew consists of 28 people, including Chinese, Indonesian and Vietnamese nationals.

In June 2006, the schooner was leased for fishing by the Sakhalin Cossack District. It was found out that the crew had been engaged in poaching salmon and transporting it to South Korean ports. Criminal proceedings were launched against the captain and the senior representative of the Cossacks.

The ship, that had remained in the Avacha Bay since August 21, 2006, broke free from moorings during a storm on January 8, and ran aground near the Kazak Cape, where it has remained since then. The ship owner has made no steps to evacuate the crew.

The crew remains on board. The lives of the seamen are not in danger. After the confiscation of the vessel the authorities will decide on sending the foreign fishermen back home.

© Itar-Tass

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