Ten armed men wearing the back uniforms of the Guinean Navy boarded the Luchegorsk tanker Tuesday and told the captain that it had illegally entered another country's economic zone.
Andrei Sychev, deputy general director of the Primorye Shipping Company, which owns the tanker, said the captain proved that at the moment of detention the vessel was in the economic zone of a neighboring state - Sierra Leone.
"The Guinean authorities have dropped all claims against the Luchegorsk's captain. The crew of the vessel, which is registered at the port of Nakhodka [in Russia's Far East], has all essential provisions," he said.
But he said the Guinean authorities had claimed the Swiss company that had leased the tanker had been engaged in illegal operations supplying fuel and water to vessels working in the country's territorial waters.
"The company will probably have to pay a fine for illegal operations in Guinean territorial waters. After this, the Luchegorsk will be allowed to leave the port of Conakry, where it is currently under arrest. This could happen Wednesday or Thursday," he said.
There were 19 Russians and one Chinese citizen on board the tanker when armed men seized it
The men demanded $20,000 from the captain, but he said he only had $7,000. The group then took over the tanker's communications unit and ordered it to set the course for Conakry, the capital of Guinea.
The Russian consul arrived at the port of Conakry to establish whether the detention was lawful.