Russian court ruling on Lithuanian vessel due next week

Lawyer Vladimir Odiagailo told BNS by phone from Russia that an investigation into administrative offence was underway, but its exact qualification was not clear yet.

“We are now seeking the vessel’s arrest to be lifted and for it to be released on bail. The conditions are not clear yet as there’s a certain procedure. The court rules on that. … I think it will take around a week, not less,” the lawyer representing Lithuanian company Arctic Fishing told BNS.

In his words, the court is expected to announce on Tuesday or Wednesday the hearing date and the hearing itself could take place next week.

“We hope that the case materials will reach the court tomorrow. There’s a certain procedure, and the court will set the date under the existing procedure. We will learn that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Odiagailo said, adding that the bail would depend on the evaluation of the vessel and its catch.

The lawyer also said he had met the crew and they were fine. Two crew members have also been allowed to leave the vessel due to their health condition, he said.

“There are no problems with the crew. If the vessel is released on bail, the crew will be able to continue its work not in the debatable but other waters, if no problems arise. If the issue is not resolved, the possibility I also do not discount, the crew always has the possibility to leave the vessel as there are no problems with the crew,” the lawyer said.

Odiagailo underlined that the crew are not charged with anything but the vessel’s captain, Aleksandr Grusko, a Lithuanian citizen, has been brought to administrative responsibility.

The vessel’s owners and Lithuanian official say it was detained while fishing in international waters and Russian officials unlawfully used force. Meanwhile, Russia claims the vessel was illegally fishing in Russia’s economic zone.

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