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Russian trawler captain in intensive care


MURMANSK, October 21 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Kozlova) - The captain of the Elektron trawler that was at the center of a Russian-Norwegian scandal is currently in intensive care in the port of Murmansk in the Russian arctic, a local official said.

Valery Yarantsev was hospitalized with a heart attack Thursday night before an interview with journalists who arrived at the trawler on a patrol boat, Gennady Stepakhno, the head of the Northern Fishery Union, said.

"The man has not slept for six days," Stepakhno said, adding that other Elektron crewmembers were in good health.

Commissions from the Agriculture Ministry and the Federal Agency for Fishery are currently inspecting the trawler. The examination may take up to ten days.

The Elektron trawler was detained by the Norwegian Coast Guard on October 15 for violating the fishery protection zone, unilaterally set up by Norway north of the Arctic Circle. But the trawler fled into Russia's waters with two Norwegian inspectors aboard and Norwegian ships pursued. At the height of the drama Monday night, captain Yarantsev called for Russian ships to come to his aid and said the trawler could take radical action against the Norwegian boats, including deliberately colliding with them.

An agreement was reached between Russia and Norway to allow the trawler to be convoyed to the Russian port of Murmansk. The incident ended Thursday when the inspectors were transferred from the Elektron to a Norwegian vessel.

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