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    BELIZE VESSEL DETAINED NEAR NORTH KURILES FOR BORDER VIOLATION

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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, February 2, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Oksana Guseva) -- Border guards detained the Aquarius-1 craft flying the flag of Belize in the North Kuriles area (Russia's Far East).

    Commander of the North-Eastern regional border-guard directorate of the Russian Federation's Federal Security Service Lieutenant-General Valery Putov told journalists on Monday that the ship had been detained for crossing Russia's state border near the Matua island of the Kuriles chain.

    During a few hours on Sunday, the border guards tried to detain the Aquarius-1, which was trying to escape from a patrol ship. The vessel was stopped, and an inspecting group landed on board it only after the border guard aviation aircraft, which flew into the region of detention, gave a fire warning.

    The vessel has no permission to enter Russia's territorial waters.

    The ship is being convoyed to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky port for further investigation. The vessel can be confiscated from the company that owns it for violating the Russian Federation's state border.

    In 2003 the Aquarius-1 was detained twice for violating the rules of catching marine bio-resources in the Russian Federation's exclusive economic zone.

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