Russian border patrol was forced to open fire during inspection of a fishing vessel with North Korean crew onboard. The crew resisted search, behaved aggressively, and tried to flee with the members of the Russian security forces on board, according to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
One Russian border patrol officer and nine North Korean fishermen were injured in the stand-off. One of the injured fishermen later died in the hospital.
The incident happened on Friday evening at 22:20 Moscow time (19:20 GMT) in Russia’s exclusive economic zone in the country’s Far East, according to the FSB statement, released online on Saturday. The term “exclusive economic zone” describes an area of coastal water in a certain distance from the country’s shore, where the respective state has exclusive rights for fishing and other economic activities.
“During the search and control activities, [Russian border guards] found illegally-obtained water bio resources on board the vessel. The ship’s crew behaved aggressively towards members of the search group, refusing to comply with legal requirements,” the FSB said in a statement.
The vessel had 48 North Korean crew members on board.
After a search group was dispatched to the vessel, the ship attempted to leave Russia’s exclusive economic zone towards North Korea, FSB announced.
The Russian border guard vessel fired several “warning shots to stop” the North Korean ship, yet the vessel still continued its maneuver.
The crew of the North Korean vessel also tried to attack the FSB members already on board their vessel. As a result “one of the members of the search team sustained a head injury.”
In the immediate aftermath Russian FSB agents fired shots at the North Korean crew to prevent them from “obtaining weapons” from the border guards and further “harming them.”
“Nine crew members of the intruder-ship were injured, one of them later died,” the FSB stated.
After treating the injured, the North Korean crew was taken to the Russian border guard ships.
The FSB also noted that the injured North Koreans from the vessel will be taken to different Russian ports in the region.
The FSB has already “informed the Consulate General of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the [Russian] city of Vladivostok on the use of weapons and the measures undertaken.”