Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Authorities on the Far East Russian island of Sakhalin have detained the captain of a Russian fishing vessel after searching the ship and finding 25 Ukrainians who were being used for slave labor, RIA-Novosti state news agency said.
The ship, the Pervorechensk, was searched by inspectors on December 17 and found to be carrying 25 tons of illegally fished crab along with 25 Ukrainian citizens who were listed as passengers on the ship's manifest, the agency said, quoting the regional prosecutor's office. The Ukrainians were tricked and forced to remain on the ship without a contract between February and August of this year, a spokeswoman for the Sakhalin regional prosecutor's office, Tatyana Kutuzova, was quoted as saying. "The labour of the foreign citizens was unpaid," Kutuzova said. "The Ukrainians were held by force for work at sea for more than half a year and deprived of food and water if they refused to work," she said. Under Russian law, the Ukrainians were classified as "slaves" between February and December 17 when the vessel was impounded, Kutuzova said.