RIA Novosti & Xinhua News Service & Asia-Pacific News – 2009-02-21 22:41:14
Russian Border Guards Fired on Chinese Ship Legally – Ministry
MOSCOW (February 21, 2009) — The use of weapons by Russian border guards against Chinese cargo vessel The New Star was legal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
The New Star, owned by a Hong Kong-based company, sank in the Sea of Japan 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the port of Nakhodka in the Primorye Territory during a storm on Sunday. Eight of the crew of 16 were saved.
Chinese media reported that the Sierra Leone-flagged New Star sank as a result of damage sustained, when the ship was fired upon by Russian border guards after the vessel left Nakhodka and crossed the Russian border without prior permission from the Russian authorities.
The ship had tried to deliver a consignment of rice to a Russian company who refused to accept the goods claiming it was “poor-quality” produce. Two Russian border guard ships were sent to stop the vessel, but the captain ignored their orders.
Beijing urged Russia on Thursday to conduct a probe into the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship off Russia’s Pacific Coast over the weekend that killed eight crewmembers.
The border guards fired warning shots, but when the vessel still refused to stop more direct shots were fired. According to video footage shown by Internet media in Vladivostok, Russian border guards fired a total of 515 shots at the vessel’s bow. When this had no effect, they requested permission to open fire on the stern.
The Chinese ship owners have accused Russia of breaching international maritime law. The owners said in a letter that Russia’s actions were not only “an awful violation of international law but also a cruel violation of human rights.”
The owners also demanded that Russia provide compensation for the incident and requested that a joint Russian-Chinese government group be set up to investigate the sinking of The New Star.
The ship issued a distress signal when the vessel started to take on water during the storm on Sunday, and 16 crew members, all of them Indonesian or Chinese nationals, got into two lifeboats. Half of them were picked up by a Russian vessel, but an attempt to save the other eight sailors failed when they were washed out to sea.
An investigation into the incident has been launched by prosecutors in Russia’s Far East.
Moscow Blames Captain of China’s
New Star for Tragic Sinking
MOSCOW (February 19, 2009) — The captain of a Chinese cargo ship, which sank off Russia’s Pacific Coast on Sunday killing eight crewmembers, is to blame for the tragedy, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The New Star, owned by a Hong Kong based company, sank in the Sea of Japan 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the port of Nakhodka in the Primorye Territory during a storm. The ship had earlier been chased by two Russian coast guard vessels, but refused to stop despite being fired on.
“We regret the tragic consequences of this incident. However we consider the captain of The New Star, who behaved extremely irresponsibly, is fully to blame for the incident,” Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for the ministry, said.
Chinese media reported earlier that the Sierra Leone-flagged New Star sank as a result of damage sustained, when the ship was fired upon by Russian border guards after the vessel left Nakhodka and crossed the Russian border without prior permission from the authorities.
“We stress that The New Star violated Russia’s state border and for several hours the captain rudely ignored signals from the coast guard vessels and failed to comply with the lawful requests of the coast guard authorities,” Nesterenko said.
The Russian diplomat added that a full investigation, conducted by the relevant Russian bodies, is currently underway.
A small boat was discovered on Tuesday in the area where the ship sunk, but there was no one on board. The search operation launched by Russia continued on Thursday.
China Says Russia’s Attitude on
Cargo Ship Incident “Unacceptable”
BEIJING, Feb. 20 () — A Chinese Foreign Ministry official on Friday said that Russia’s attitude on the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship in Russian waters is unacceptable. Zhang Xiyun, director-general of the Department of European-Central Asian Affairs of the ministry, lodged representations Friday afternoon to Russian Minister Counselor to China Morgulov Igor in regards to the incident.
Zhang said that the attitude of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed on Friday over the incident is “hard to understand and unacceptable” for China. A Sierra Leone-flagged vessel named “New Star” sank off the waters near Russia’s far-eastern port of Vladivostok on Sunday. Seven Chinese crew members were still missing.
Russia on Friday announced that it wrapped up the search for missing crew members of the cargo vessel. According to Itar-Tass news agency reports, a motorboat was found Wednesday at Pyotr Veliky Bay, but no one was on it.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Li Hui Thursday summoned Russian ambassador Sergei Razov, urging Russian authorities to complete investigations into the incident as soon as possible and try its best to search for the missing crew members.
Li said China was shocked at and seriously concerned with the incident, expressing the country’s strong dissatisfaction with Russian warship’s firing at the civil cargo ship, Russia’s insufficient rescue efforts to save drowning sailors and its failure to provide prompt investigation result to China although some details still need to be found out.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the incident, and requires Russia to make thorough investigations to find out the causes of the incident and give China a “responsible feedback” as soon as possible, Li said. China also requires Russia to properly settle rescued Chinese sailors and spare no efforts to help search for the missing crew members, he added.
Razov Sergey expressed regrets over the serious casualty in the incident. He said that relevant departments of the Russian government are investigating into the incident, and will inform the Chinese side of the result in time.
Eight Feared Dead after
Russia Sinks Chinese Cargo Ship
BEIJING (Feb 19, 2009) — Eight crew were feared dead after Russian Coast Guard vessels fired on a Chinese ship that was fleeing port after a dispute over a rice cargo, Chinese and Russian sources said Thursday.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the cargo ship New Star sank Saturday off Russia’s eastern port of Nakhodka in waters close to Japan.
The Hong Kong-based owner of the ship on Thursday accused Russian officials of covering up an ‘act of murder’ by a warship.
‘Their account does not mention the fact that their warship fired on our cargo ship,’ the Chinese government website china.org quoted a statement by the J-Rui Lucky Shipping Company as saying. ‘What they are portraying as a rescue was in fact an act of murder,’ the statement said.
J-Rui said it had leased the New Star since 2006 to the Tongyu shipping company, based in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.
Chinese and Russian media reports said the Russian Coast Guard opened fire after the ship ignored warnings to return to port. China’s Global Times newspaper said at least one sailor was shot dead before the ship sank. Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency said eight crew died at sea after the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel sank during a storm.
The ship had tried to deliver a cargo of rice, but a Russian buyer refused to accept the rice because of quality concerns, both reports said. Tonggyu ordered the captain to flee Russian waters because it feared legal action, the Russian agency quoted local prosecutors as saying. The ship then left port without permission and ‘crossed the Russian border illegally,’ local police told the agency.
The 16 Indonesian and Chinese crew entered life rafts after the ship began sinking and eight were rescued by a Russian ship, the report said. Attempts to save the other eight crew ‘failed when they were washed out to sea and drowned,’ it said.
The Global Times said the New Star was sequestered in Nakhodka for ‘alleged smuggling,’ a charged rejected by J-Rui. The newspaper said a Russian Coast Guard cruiser fired at least 500 rounds on the ship and ‘forced it to sail back toward the port in force-6 winds.’
The ship began to sink on the way back to port and one of the two lifeboats was engulfed by high waves, the newspaper said. It said three of the eight missing crew were Chinese and the rest were Indonesian.
China’s Foreign Ministry gave different numbers for the crew and missing, saying three of the 10 Chinese crew on board were rescued and seven were missing. Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu on Thursday said Chinese officials had urged Russia to ‘spare no effort to help search for the missing crew members and quickly find out the causes of the incident.’
The J-Rui statement said Russian navy officers ‘did not offer any assistance to the crew of the New Star to board the warship,’ while the Global Times said the Chinese ship did not send an SOS signal to the Russian Coast Guard.
Russian prosecutors were investigating the conduct of the Coast Guard officers in the incident, RIA Novosti said.
Chinese consul general urges Russia to probe sea accident
NAKHODKA, Russia, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — A senior Chinese diplomat urged Russia on Friday to conduct a serious probe into an accident at sea in which seven Chinese sailors went missing. Three of their compatriots were rescued alive.
China lodges urgent representation again to Russia on cargo ship sinking
BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — China on Thursday again lodged urgent representations to the Russian Minister Counsellor to China in regards to the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship in Russian waters. The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel named “New Star” sank off the waters near Russia’s far-eastern port of Vladivostok on Sunday. Seven Chinese crew members were still missing.
China says Russia’s investigation into sea accident still going on
BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — Russia is still continuing its rescue efforts and investigation into the sea accident involving a Chinese cargo ship, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu here Thursday. A Chinese cargo ship on Sunday sank off the waters near Russia’s far-eastern port of Vladivostok. Three Chinese crew members were rescued and seven others were missing, said Jiang.
Chinese sailors rescued off Russian coast in good health, 7 still missing
MOSCOW, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) — The three Chinese sailors rescued from a cargo ship that sank Sunday in the Sea of Japan near Russia’s far-eastern port of Vladivostok are in good health, but seven other crew members remain missing, an official with the Chinese Consulate in Vladivostok told Xinhua Thursday. Chinese consulate officials in the city of Khabarovsk arrived at the port of Nakhodka to visit the rescued sailors shortly after the incident, said Wang Pengbo, a Chinese consulate official in Vladivostok.
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