Thursday, December 08, 2005
North Korean authorities have agreed to let Russian diplomats meet with the crew of a detained Russian ship only after it has been inspected and arrives at the nearest large port, Kimchaek, northeast of Pyongyang, a Russian diplomat said Thursday.
The TerneyYevgeny Valkovich, Russia's consul general in the port city of Chongjin about 200km (124 miles) from Kimchaek, said that he, as a foreigner, would not be allowed onto the Terney ship because it was in a restricted zone. Valkovich said the Captain had not agreed to the demands of the North Korean authorities, but added that the ship's owner, the Ardis company, had not yet responded. Andey Makeyev, the head of the Ardis navigation department, said earlier that the captain had received official permission to enter North Korea's territorial waters. "The permission was entered in the ship's log," Makeyev said. The Terney was returning to the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok from the South Korean port of Busan when it encountered a heavy storm in the Sea of Japan on December 5. The Captain changed course toward the North Korean coast after receiving permission from the local authorities. Despite the current situation, Makeyev remained positive. "There is enough food, water and fuel on the ship, and the crew is well," he said. "We are in touch with them." He also said that Russian diplomats and the Union of Russian Ship Owners were working toward securing the ship's return to Vladivostok under the International Law of the Sea.