14:05 GMT +316 February 2019
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    UPDATE: Russia, Norway agree to convoy Russian trawler to Murmansk

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    MURMANSK, October 18 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Kozlova) - Russian trawler Elektron, which was detained by the Norwegian Coast Guard Saturday off the Spitsbergen archipelago for allegedly breaching fishing regulations, will be convoyed to the Russian port of Murmansk after entering Russian territorial waters, a spokesman for the Russian border department said Tuesday.

    Vladimir Berezkin said commanders of Norway's northern armed forces and the border department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reached an agreement Tuesday afternoon.

    The Elektron trawler was detained by the Norwegian Coast Guard Saturday, but the captain refused to obey orders and headed for Russian territorial waters Monday with two Norwegian fisheries inspectors aboard. Norwegian ships had been in pursuit since.

    Berezkin said the Russian side had guaranteed the security of the Norwegian inspectors.

    "The two Norwegian inspectors will be taken to the port of Murmansk," he said. "Accommodation [in Murmansk] and the return to Norway are guaranteed."

    He added that the Admiral Levchenko anti-submarine ship and the Tver patrol ship of the Russian Northern Fleet would convoy the trawler to Murmansk, expecting to arrive early on October 19.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Tuesday that the incident had occurred in an area that Norway had declared a fishing-free zone. "We have never agreed with the norms that Norwegians had unilaterally established in the area. We were in talks over these issues," he said.

    A spokesman for the Norwegian Coast Guard said Tuesday his country did not regard the Elektron trawler incident as a conflict between Russia and Norway. He denied reports that a coast guard ship had fired at the trawler, adding that the fishing boat had violated Norwegian laws and the incident should be investigated.

    A Russian FSB official in Murmansk admitted Tuesday that the captain of the Elektron had acted illegally.

    "Since the Norwegian Coast Guard officers discovered violations of fishing regulations, particularly the smaller size of the cells in the trail net, the captain of the trawler should have agreed and proceeded to a Norwegian port," he said.