VLADIVOSTOK, September 21 (RIA Novosti) – North Korea’s coast guard has opened fire on a Russian fishing vessel in the Sea of Japan, a spokesman for the fishing company said.
No one was injured in the shooting, and the vessel, the Altai, was not damaged, he said.
“The captain said his schooner was fired at from automatic weapons and with signal flares at 1:30 a.m. Vladivostok time on Saturday [14:30 GMT Friday] without any radio or visual warning signals from a vessel flying the flag of North Korea,” the spokesman told RIA Novosti.
Russia has asked North Korea to explain the incident, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website Saturday.
The Altai, with a haul of crab, was heading from the port of Zarubino in Russia’s Primorye Territory to South Korea. People in military uniforms from the North Korean ship boarded the Altai, inspected it for about 10 minutes, questioned the captain and then left, the fishing company spokesman said.
He said that “North Korean coast guards [had] grossly violated the international law on maritime traffic” because they had failed to properly warn the Russian sailors of the inspection and started shooting immediately instead.
Updated with reaction from Russian Foreign Ministry.