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Russia: U.S. Defends Seizure Of Trawler

  • Kevin Foley

Washington, 28 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Deparment says the United States was within its rights when it seized a Russian commercial fishing trawler it alleges was inside U.S. territorial waters in the Bering Sea.

State Department spokesman James Rubin said yesterday the U.S. Coast Guard acted properly in seizing the vessel Chernyayevo on August 18. He said an investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Justice Department and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The ship is being detained in the port of Kodiak in the state of Alaska. Rubin said the crew is being granted all port courtesies normally accorded foreign vessels.

The Russian ship's owner denies the Coast Guard's charge. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Valeriy Nesterushkin says Moscow plans to ask the State Department to consider releasing the ship.