A fishing vessel with a Russian crew, detained by North Korean border guards, was traveling under the South Korean flag, a spokesperson for the North Korean embassy in Moscow told on Wednesday.

“The vessel was flying the South Korean flag. Its captain admitted to a violation of territorial waters. Our border guards are conducting a probe into the incident,” he said.

The embassy spokesperson pointed out that given good relations between North Korea and Russia, he believed that the vessel would be released after the probe. However, the diplomat pointed out that it was only his personal opinion and not the country’s official position.

The Russian vessel was detained overnight into July 17 while on its way from the South Korean port of Sokcho to the Sea of Japan for crab fishing. According to the North Korean Foreign Ministry, the vessel was detained for “violating the rules of entry and stay in North Korea.” The vessel was escorted to the port of Wonsan.

The vessel belongs to the Sakhalin-based Northeastern Fishing Company, its crew includes 15 Russian nationals and two South Koreans.

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