08:17 GMT20 June 2021
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Most of the crew of Russia's Amur merchant ship, which collided with a Japanese fishing vessel in May, will be able to return home to Russia once the civil case issue is resolved, Russian consul in Sapporo Roman Kolesnik told Sputnik.

    Earlier on Monday, Russian Consul General in Sapporo Sergey Marin told Sputnik that the third mate of Russia's Amur had been detained for 72 hours on suspicion of not having taken action to avoid the collision. According to Kolesnik, the third mate is now in a pre-trial detention center in Japan’s Monbetsu.

    "Simultaneously [with the detention of the third mate] there is a situation with the civil court, which decided to seize the documents necessary for navigation, practically immobilizing the ship, because now it cannot leave without the documents. Although officially no one says that the ship is arrested. But it cannot go anywhere. Apparently, the conditions [for compensation] are being discussed with the Japanese side," the Russian consul told Sputnik.

    He explained that if the sides agree on the compensation, the Amur ship will leave on its own along with the crew.

    "If they do not agree and go to court, then since it can take a long time, the question will arise of how to remove the crew and send them home, leaving someone to take care of the vessel. But the bulk of the crew will leave the ship and return to their homeland," Kolesnik said.

    According to the consul, the Japanese side has 72 hours to decide whether to start an investigation into the actions of the Amur ship’s third mate.

    So far, the third mate had been interviewed on a voluntary basis. If a decision is made to start an investigation, the law allocates "10 plus 10 days" for it.

    "After this period, a decision is made either to release him, or to bring formal charges and bring the case to court," the consul explained.

    The Russian Amur vessel with 23 people on board that was transporting seafood to Monbetsu from Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East and Japanese fishing boat Hokko Maru No. 8 carrying 5 people collided off Hokkaido on 26 May. The people from the Japanese ship were rescued by the Amur crew, but three of them were unconscious. Later, they were confirmed dead.

    At the end of May, Marin told Sputnik that there was no information confirming that Amur violated any international agreements on safe navigation or rules for the divergence of vessels at sea, noting that evidence points to a disregard of some of these rules by Japanese fishermen. Later, Marin told Sputnik that the ship's captain was being pressured into admitting guilt.

    Tags:
    vessel, Japan, Russia
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