Russian coast guard fires on Chinese fishing vessel

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-18 1:45:03

A Chinese fishing ship has been seized off Russia's Far-East region after allegedly being warned by a Russian patrol ship with gunfire, the Chinese Consulate-General in Khabarovsk confirmed Tuesday.

The consulate has been notified about the incident, a member of staff there confirmed with the Global Times.

The crew of the Dzerzhinsky coast guard ship spotted the Chinese vessel Monday within Russia's exclusive economic zone, while the vessel refused to stop on demand and tried to escape, The Moscow Times reported.

A three-hour chase then ensued, in which Russian border guards first fired warning shots, then collided with the vessel and fired on it directly as the crew of the schooner tried to resist being boarded by Russian troops.

None of the 17 Chinese nationals on board was harmed as a result of the gunfire, an official from the Russian coast guard service confirmed with the Consular Office in Vladivostok of the Chinese embassy.

One person from the vessel reportedly went missing after falling from the ship during the collision, but the Chinese consulate denied such reports.

The Chinese crew was unable to produce documentation allowing them to fish in Russian waters, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The vessel carried over 22.5 tons of squid, and will be escorted to the port in Nakhodka for further investigation, a representative of the Border Guard Service said.

Another Chinese vessel with 19 fishermen was detained for illegal trans-boundary fishing on Sunday.

Both ships were from the city of Weihai in East China's Shandong Province, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The employee with the consulate told the Global Times that it only received a simple notification from the Russian side.

The two are expected to meet within a week, when the Russian side is expected to clarify details of the incident such as the exact position where the vessel was fired on and how the Chinese nationals were detained, he added.

The last similar incident took place at the end of last year.

"Generally, Russia will impose a fine on the Chinese fishermen after an investigation is carried out and then free the detained people. But there have been serious cases when fishermen have been detained for several months," said the consulate employee.

Xing Guangcheng, a Central Asia expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that this incident will not have a negative impact on Sino-Russian relations.

"From a humanitarian point of view, it shouldn't engage in violence toward these vessels even in its own region," Xing said. "China should stress its stance to Russia, demanding Russia ensure the safety of Chinese citizens."

Li Xing, a professor of Russian affairs at Beijing Normal University, echoed Xing, saying the way the Russian side dealt with this incident was brutal, noting that Chinese fishermen should be cautious.

Agencies contributed to this story


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