Estonian fishing boat captain to remain in detention in Russia

Estonian fishing boat captain in Kaliningrad. PHOTO: Jaanus Piirsalu

The decision made by a Kaliningrad court on Monday to extend the detention of an Estonian fishing boat captain in a Kaliningrad hotel likely means that the Russian border authorities have decided to detain him until he pleads guilty to intentional illegal fishing in Russian waters.

The hotel arrest of the 54-year-old captain of the fishing boat Roxen, who has remained in detention in Kaliningrad since May 10, was extended by the court on Monday by two months, until September 22, Roxen’s owner Raivo Baum told Postimees. The daily was unable to reach the captain of the vessel for comment after the court sitting. He went to see a doctor in Kaliningrad on Monday morning, was then supposed to meet with his lawyer and then head to the court.

Russian border officials detained Roxen, which was sailing under the Finnish flag but with an Estonian crew, on May 10, accusing the crew of fishing in Russia’s economic waters without a permit. After bail of 700,000 euros was posted for potential damage to Russian fish resources, the ship Roxen and three members of its crew were released on June 25, while the court has ordered the captain to be detained in a hotel.

The captain is living in a hotel located in the suburbs of Kaliningrad and has been forbidden to leave the hotel without permission. Every day at 8.50 a.m. and 5 p.m., the captain must call an investigator of the Russian border authorities to inform them that he is in the hotel. He is also obligated to make a call and inform the authorities whenever he leaves the building. Furthermore, the captain’s Estonian passport is in the possession of the investigator, which means that the captain would be moving around the city without documents and the police could detain him for 72 hours in order to determine his identity.

According to Raivo Baum, the captain’s detention in the hotel was extended under current conditions.