FACTBOX - Vessels Detained From 2016-2019 With Russian Crews On Board

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th July, 2019) The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) detained on Thursday the Russian tanker Nika Spirit in the port of Izmail in the Odessa region, claiming that the vessel used to be called NEYMA and was allegedly involved in an incident in the Kerch Strait in November 2018 that led to Russia detaining three Ukrainian ships.

A team of SBU investigators, military prosecutors and border guards conducted a search on the vessel, sanctioned by the Ukrainian court. They seized documents, recordings of radio communications and logbooks, as well as questioned the crew. The vessel was recognized as material evidence, and a petition for its arrest is being prepared for the court. The crew has been released.

On July 17, the North Korean border guard detained the Russian fishing vessel Xianghailin-8, owned by Northeastern Fishing Company. The vessel was escorted to the port city of Wonsan with 17 crew members on board, including 2 citizens of South Korea. North Korea said that the vessel was detained for illegally crossing the country's water borders. At the same time, according to the ship-owner, the vessel was on its usual route and did not cross the 12-mile zone.

On February 1, the authorities of Cape Verde, a nation on a volcanic archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, detained 11 Russian sailors on suspicion of drug-trafficking. The cargo ship named Eser, sailing under Panama's flag, was heading to the Moroccan city of Tangier. It was detained after making an emergency stop at the port of Praia, following the death of one of its crew members.

According to the Cape Verde criminal police, 260 bales of cocaine, totaling 9.57 tonnes, were confiscated from the vessel. Russian sailors were arrested but no charges have been filed and the investigation is underway. According to the Maritime Bulletin portal, the Panamanian company Ecolive de Panama owns the vessel.

Russian bulk carrier Kuzma Minin, owned by the Murmansk Shipping Company, was arrested over the debt of the ship-owner on January 17. The ship with 18 Russian sailors aboard ran aground near the UK port of Falmouth on December 18. A few hours after the incident, the vessel was refloated, and a few days later, inspected by divers, who discovered that the hull of the ship was damaged. On January 3, 2019, the UK authorities informed the Russian embassy that the bulk carrier, previously detained in Falmouth due to poor technical condition, was arrested by the court "as a measure to ensure the fulfillment of the shipowner's debt obligations to one of its contractors."

On September 29, 2018, it became known that the Russian-flagged Sevastopol cargo ship, owned by Russia's Gudzon shipping company, had been detained with 12 crew members in South Korea's port city of Busan, where it docked for maintenance. A month prior, the South Korean Foreign Ministry announced the start of the vessel's inspection on suspicions of it violating the UN Security Council's ban on ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korea. Earlier, the United States added two Russian companies and six ships to the sanctions list for North Korea, including the Gudzon shipping company and the Sevastopol vessel. On October 2, the South Korean authorities notified Russia that the Sevastopol vessel was allowed to leave the port. At the same time, the reasons for detention were not officially named.

On September 24, 2018, the Russian bulk carrier Zapolyarye, owned by the Murmansk Shipping Company, was detained in the Spanish port of Motril in the province of Granada. The vessel was close to the shore of the Spanish exclave of Ceuta on the north coast of Africa since July 1, where it came for a refuel. The vessel came from Tarragona, Catalonia, where it loaded 22 tonnes of technical salt for roads and was heading for the United Kingdom's Teesport.

However, due to the shipowner's financial problems and the lack of fuel, Zapolyarye was unable to get back on the route. Moreover, most of the vessel's certification documents expired on August 14. Zapolyarye was sent to Motril in September. In February 2019, Russian Ambassador to Spain Yury Korchagin said that the vessel would remain in the Spanish port until all financial problems were resolved.

On August 23, 2018, South African police detained the Lada vessel, owned by Russia's Transflot shipping company, in Port Elizabeth. The inspection revealed that the ship was carrying, among other things, industrial explosives and was detained due to lack of necessary documents for them, which the company had to urgently prepare. The ship left Port Elizabeth on September 8 after the required transit permit was obtained.

On August 10, 2018, Russian tanker Mekhanik Pogodin was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. The fact that the vessel was built by the Russian VEB-Leasing company, which fell under Kiev's sanctions, was stated as the grounds for detention. All 12 crew members eventually returned to Russia, including the captain.

On June 29, it became known that the Russian vessel Palladium had been detained in the South Korean port of Busan after the sailors complained about salaries debts. The owner of the ship said that it had no money to ensure their return home.

In August 2018, the owner of Palladium arrived at the ship, assumed the powers of a captain and ordered the crew to head for Japan, despite the lack of permit from the South Korean authorities. The ship ignored demands of the coast guard and was stopped by security forces, landed from a helicopter. After that, four people the shipowner, the captain, the senior mechanic and one of the sailors were placed under house arrest. Later, two more Russians were detained in relation to the incident. In March, a court in South Korea convicted the shipowner and five sailors, who were given various sentences. In April 2019, three sailors from the Palladium vessel returned to Russia.

In June 2018, Russian ship Streamline was arrested in Istanbul. The vessel was heading from Rostov-on-Don to the Turkish capital for repairs. When the ship anchored at the roadstead, it was arrested for debts of its previous owner, amounting to some $500,000. The crew of the ship included 11 Russian sailors. Lawyers of the shipowner company Akca Shipping demanded that Turkey release the ship and allow it to proceed to maintenance. The sailors twice resorted to hunger strikes and threatened to block the Bosphorus.

On March 25, 2018, the Ukrainian border guard detained the Crimean, Russian-flagged, vessel Nord in the Sea of Azov with 10 crew members on board. Two crew members were able to return to Crimea via Belarus, while seven were intercepted while trying to board on a flight to to Minsk. The captain of the vessel has been charged with "violating the procedure for entering the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and leaving it in order to harm the interests of the state" and faces up to five years in prison.

On May 18, 2018, the Northern Land vessel of the Murmansk Shipping Company was arrested in the Spanish port of Aviles (Asturias) in connection with a lawsuit from Gibraltar for non-payment of 200,000 Euros (over $222,000) for refueling. In February 2019, Russian Ambassador to Spain Yuri Korchagin said that the vessel would remain in the Spanish port until all financial problems were resolved.

On June 15, 2017, the North Korean border guard detained a Russian yacht with three crew members in the north-western part of the Sea of Japan. The ship was heading from Taiwan for Vladivostok. The Russian yacht underwent a two-month repair in Japan before leaving for Russia.

The North Korean border guard mistakenly identified the vessel as a poaching schooner because of its small size and slow speed. When the misunderstanding was resolved, the boat and the crew members were released. Two days later, the vessel left the North Korean port of Rajin and headed for the port of Zarubino in Russia.

On March 5, 2017, the coast guard of the western Libyan city of Zawiya detained in the coastal waters of Libya the Russian cargo ship Merle with seven Russian citizens on board. The vessel, owned by the company MT Group from St. Petersburg, was escorted to the port of Tripoli.In late April that year, five Russian sailors from the Merle vessel were released and returned to Russia. The captain of the ship and his assistant, who had remained in captivity in Libya, were also released a month later.

In late June 2016, the Temeteron tanker was detained 17 nautical miles from the Libyan coast. The crew consisted of three Russian (the captain of the vessel was from Sevastopol, two more from the cities of Kerch and Rostov-on-Don), as well as five Ukrainian and one Greek citizens. The tanker was owned by a Greek company and operated under the flag of Belize. The crew members were accused of smuggling. On March 2, 2017, six members of the international crew of the vessel were released, including one Russian citizen. On October 9, 2018, a Tripoli court sentenced two Russian sailors from the Temeteron vessel to four years and three months in prison each. They were found guilty of smuggling petroleum products and illegally crossing the state border.

On May 14, 2017, the North Korean coast guard detained the yacht Elfin with Russian athletes on board. First, the captain of Elfin was brought to North Korea and then the yacht itself. On May 15, the ship was released. North Korea assured that the vessel had been detained due to a misunderstanding. The North Korean officials explained that the fishermen saw an inscription in Korean on board of the yacht, which was sailing in the Sea of Japan after a regatta in the South Korean port of Busan. This alerted the fishermen, who decided to demonstrate "vigilance."

On January 1, 2017, crew members of the Russian cargo ship Ivan Bobrov were detained in the Danish port of Elsinore due to a dangerous maneuvering incident. The vessel was heading from the United Kingdom to Latvia to load sawn timber. After that, the crew members of the vessel were sent for an alcohol survey, during which a slight excess of alcohol was detected in the blood of the captain, his senior assistant and a mechanic. The captain was detained by the Danish police until January 15, two more crew members were to be deported on January 9, but there was a delay. On January 21, the senior assistant of the captain and the mechanic of the vessel returned to Russia. The cargo ship left the port in Denmark shortly after the incident.