The European Commission, which is helping Lithuania to establish the circumstances of the detention of a fishing vessel by Russian officials, has not received any response from Moscow to its inquiries, Lithuania's Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė says.

Baltraitienė said she was notified of the fact by Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki on Wednesday.

"She sent a letter, saying that the European Commission had again turned to Russia with a repeated request for information. We have asked the European Commission twice and received an answer yesterday that they are making inquiries and asking Russia to provide information as to the coordinates [at the time of the detention of the vessel]. However, Russia has not responded to the letters from the European Commission," the minister told BNS on Thursday.

In her words, the issue of the arrested ship will be again raised during the European Union's Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg next week.

"It will also address other agricultural matters, but there are fisheries issues, the ship issue has also been included," said Baltraitienė.

Immediately after the incident, the Lithuanian ministry turned to the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) to help protect Lithuania's interests in the release of the ship.

Earlier this week, a Russian court set a bail for the release of the Lithuanian fishing vessel at 113 million roubles (over EUR 3m). Representatives of the shipowner, Arctic Fishing, maintain the motion is inadequate and decided to appeal against the decision and request a lower bail.

The ship is currently held in Murmansk.

The Lithuanian vessel Jūros Vilkas (Sea Wolf) was detained while fishing in the Barents Sea in mid-September.

Lithuania has accused Russian authorities of unlawfully detaining the ship in international waters and forcing it to the Murmansk port, while Russia maintains the ship was engaged in unlawful fishing in its economic zone.

BNS
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