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North Korean border guards arrested a Russian commercial ship on Saturday
North Korean border guards arrested a Russian commercial ship on Saturday morning and convoyed it to a North Korean port, a Russian rescue coordination center spokesman said.

The Russian Lidiya Demesh vessel was carrying a batch of cars from the Japanese port of Hamata to Vladivostok in Russia's Far East, when a North Korean border guard vessel stopped it near Cape Musudan, three to five miles from North Korea's shores.

"It [the Russian vessel] could have violated the North Korean border," Vladimir Yeroshkin said, adding that an armed North Korean officer and two border guards boarded the Russian ship and motioned the captain to steer the vessel toward North Korea's shores.

No information on the number of the Russian crew or reasons for the arrest has so far been available.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's Far Eastern department and the country's border control service have already been informed of the incident, Yeroshkin said.

However, a spokesman for the North Korean consulate general in Nakhodka has failed to comment on the reports, saying that, "Pyongyang has not so far informed us of the arrest of a Russian vessel."

Another Russian vessel was arrested by the North Korean Coast Guard Service near Cape Musudan in December 2005. The Ternei ship was caught in a storm on its way from South Korea to Vladivostok. The captain decided to seek shelter in the North Korean territorial waters in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and informed North Korea of his intention.

However, the Ternei was later on arrested for border violation by North Korean border guards. The Russian ship was convoyed to the port of Kimch'aek and released two weeks later through the mediation of Russian diplomats.


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