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Russian trawler detained in Senegal gets permission to leave Dakar

The Russian trawler Oleg Naidyonov, detained in Senegal since early January, has received the official permission to leave the military port of Dakar, Yuri Parshev, Director-General of the company that owns the ship, said on Wednesday, January 22.

He said earlier that the Senegalese authorities had made and announced on January 21 their decision to release the ship on bail. The money was paid by the Association of Fishermen Operating off West Africa, of which the Oleg Naydenov's owner is a member.

The Federal Fisheries Agency had named the sum of one million U.S. dollars.

After leaving the port, the trawler plans to head to the fishing area off Guinea Bissau where it had been detained.

Parshev said the situation aboard the ship was businesslike. He said earlier this week that his company had sustained 18 million rubles' worth of losses as each day the ship stayed idle in a Senegalese port the losses increased by about one million rubles.

"The ship has not been fishing since January 3, when it was detained, with all the maintenance expenses being paid by the owner," he said.

Parshev said all crewmembers were well and had all the necessary supplies.

Trawler detained in Senegal

The trawler Oleg Naidyonov was detained off Guinea Bissau on January 4 for suspected illegal fishing, Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Diop, from the public relations office at the Senegalese Army, said.

"The ship was engaged in illegal fishing in our waters not far from the border with Guinea Bissau, south of Senegal," Agence France Presse quoted him as saying. "This is the third trawler we have detained in one week on similar suspicions."

Senegal's Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ali Haidar confirmed Diop's words on the radio. "The Russian vessel was fishing without proper permits," he said.

The minister said the trawler had headed to Dakar only after the interference by the military but had ignored marine police's orders before that. "This trawler is a repeat offender. It has been fishing in Senegalese waters without permission many times," he added.

The ship was stopped 46 miles off Guinea Bissau on January 3, after which four army officers from the Senegalese warship Ferlo boarded it and ordered the captain to follow them to their vessel. The captain refused to obey.

"After that the military attempted to take the captain to the Senegalese military ship by force, but the chief officer, acting on the captain's instructions, sounded an alarm," Federal Fisheries Agency spokesperson Alexander Savelyev said.

For some time, the trawler's crew imitated engine problems to keep the ship in place.

There were 82 persons aboard the ship - 61 Russians and 20 citizens of Guinea Bissau. The trawler was procuring fish off that African country under an inter-governmental agreement, which requires Russian sailors to take locals aboard for training and work.

Trawler's operations

The trawler belongs to the closed joint stock company Feniks registered in Murmansk, northern Russia. The company said every idle day of the ship in Dakar would cost it one million rubles. "This is an approximate amount and it may increase depending on the time and terms of demurrage," Parshev said.

"The trawler has been operating in this region for a long time and took on a new Russian crew in Dakar on December 22 - 61 Russian citizens, mainly residents of the Murmansk Region. The ship entered and left the port unhindered," he said.

Parshev noted, however, that the Senegalese authorities had repeatedly accused Russian ships of breaching fishing rules and imposed fines upon them, including the Oleg Naidyonov.

The Oleg Naidyonov is a large factory trawler, 120 meters long. It was built in Germany in 1989 and received its current name in 2005 in honor of Murmansk's first mayor. Prior to that, its name was Leonid Galchenko.

The crew is staying aboard the ship under the control of the Senegalese military and law enforcers. The sailors' documents were seized upon detention.

[Source: Itar Tass, Murmansk, 22Jan14]

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