North Korea has detained 15 Russian and two South Korean crew of a fishing vessel, according to Seoul officials and the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, Al Jazeera.
The crew members were detained on July 17 by border guards, the embassy said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, July 24.
Russian embassy officials met the Russian captain and a deputy, who were staying at a hotel in the North Korean city of Wonsan, together with the two South Korean sailors, the statement said, adding that the rest of the crew was still on the ship in Wonsan’s port.
“All the crew members are in good health,” it said, adding that “the clarification of what happened” was under way.
The ship was identified by the embassy as the Xiang Hai Lin 8, owned by the Northeast fishery company out of Nevelsk, Russia.
According to the embassy, North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the crew was detained for “violating the rules of entry and stay” in North Korea.
The embassy said it was in “constant contact” with the North Korean government and was taking all necessary measures to resolve the situation.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said on Wednesday that the two South Korean sailors were safe and Seoul has been striving to secure their freedom through consultations with their families, North Korea and Russia.
The ministry said the ship left the South Korean port of Sokcho on July 16.