Captain of the "Tulun" says no seizure ever took place

The captain of the Russian fishing trawler Tulun told rescuers that no armed seizure ever took place and that the vessel was heading for its home port of Kholmsk. The message was sent to the Sakhalin-based Centre for Coordinating Rescue Operations at Sea through a radio transmitter. It remained unclear why he had not got in touch with the rescuers before.

In the meantime, a plane was sent out to the area to control the course of the ship, which the law enforcers expect will be intercepted by an escort ship of the Pacific Regional Department of Russia's Federal Border Guards.

Two more vessels, the survey ship GS and the capital anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, were ordered to join the operation to arrest the Tulun, which, according to earlier reports, had been seized by unknown assailants on Tuesday.

Preliminary reports said the trawler was seized by armed people (presumably Russians), who had disembarked from a ship that wore a Cambodian flag.

International law classifies seizure of vessels in another country's territorial waters as sea piracy. Sources in the law enforcing authorities, however, believe that the incident with the Tulun was a showdown between two Russian fishing companies, which had argued over some property.

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