Norwegians held over Russia border dispute

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Russian seaport Murmansk. File photo: Erlend Aas/Scanpix
10:49 CEST+02:00
The Russian coast guard off Murmansk has detained a crew of five Norwegian fishermen, who claim they were west of the maritime border.

Nordlys reported late on Sunday that the boat from Berlevåg was fishing in the area alongside three other boats when inspectors from the Russian coast guard intercepted them. 

"At first, they were very preoccupied with determining the position of one of our buoys," skipper Terje Andersen said. 

"Then they asked when we were going to bring up our haul and once we did, we were arrested."

Andersen said the Russian coast guard was mistaken to think the boat had crossed the maritime border. 

"That's crazy. We were one mile west of the border. We and several other fishing boats have used the same maps for years," Andersen said.

"Do we have two borders nowadays?" 

The fish on board, meanwhile, have begun to stink.

While the crew was able to communicate with the Russians thanks to a Lithuanian crew member, Andersen and his four crew members have been reported for crossing the border and for unlawful fishing.

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Andersen said he was eager to be freed so he could steer his course west, back home to Norway.

"I can live with paying a fine. But if I contest the accusations this could take a while," he said. 

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