Russian Border Guards Fire On, Seize Taiwanese Trawler Allegedly Fishing in Russian Waters
MOSCOW A Russian helicopter fired missiles at a Taiwanese fishing trawler, and the coast guard seized the vessel and its crew after the boat was allegedly caught in Russian territorial waters with hundreds of tons of illegally culled fish, Russian state television reports.
A Russian helicopter fired several missiles at the Cheng Hui No. 1 trawler not far from the Kuril Islands on Sept. 17, after the vessel failed to stop, Rossiya television reports.
Russian guards from the frigate Sokol then boarded the trawler and found some 200 tons of fish and other sea products, officials with the Russian Border Guards Service said.
"The trawler's crew put their life vests on and were ready to board their life boats. They tried to set their vessel on fire using flares but the vessel did not catch fire," 1st Mate Boris Udovichenkos said.
The trawler was then escorted to an unnamed harbor, Rossiya reported. Adm. Alexander Ivanov, a deputy regional commander for the Russian Border Guards Service, said officials would ask a court to confiscate the trawler.
It was not immediately clear what would happen with the crew.
"We are currently planning and will conduct shortly some serious operations to prevent the foreign vessels from poaching in our economic zone," said Lt. Gen. Vladimir Lakizo, acting commander of the Far Eastern Department of the Russian Border Guard Service.
Every year, poachers roaming Russian waters catch from US$2.5 billion-US$5 billion worth of seafood, including valuable king crab, according to government estimates.