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    Update: Norway releases 2nd Russian trawler seized this week

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    MURMANSK, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian trawler, seized by Norway's authorities off the country's Arctic coast Thursday, was released later in the day under a guarantee of fine repayment, a Russian embassy official said.

    The Norwegian Coast Guard seized the Kapitan Pryakhin for failing to notify Norwegian authorities that it had completed its work in the country's territorial waters, and for failing to pass through a control checkpoint.

    "The vessel was released under a guarantee of fine repayment, as the owner and the captain of the vessel admitted the violation," Yevgeny Kolesnikov, a counselor of the Russian Embassy in Norway, said, adding that the fine totaled about $7,700.

    The Kapitan Pryakhin is the second Russian fishing boat seized in Norway this week. The Norwegian Coast Guard seized the Perseus-3 trawler Sunday for allegedly overfishing, and escorted it to the port of Vadso (118 miles from the Russian border).

    The vessel was released Wednesday night and arrived at the Russian port of Murmansk Thursday.

    The head of the Russian Fishermen's Union of the North, Gennady Stepakhno, said earlier in the day that a fine was imposed on the trawler before its release. He said the owner will protest the decision in court, arguing that claims against the trawler are unsubstantiated.

    Vadim Sokolov, a senior official from the Murmansk administration, said Norway is trying to put pressure on Russia prior to a session of a bilateral fisheries commission due in October.

    The most dramatic episode in the Russian-Norwegian dispute over fishery rights unfolded in October 2005, when the Norwegian Coast Guard service pursued Russia's Elektron trawler across the Barents Sea for five days.

    The vessel refused to follow Norwegian orders to go to a port to be checked for alleged fishing violations and fled into Russian waters with two Norwegian inspectors on board.

    Russian officials consistently claim that under a 1920 agreement signed by 48 countries, including Russia, they have equal fishing rights near the Spitsbergen Archipelago.

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