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Denmark Detains Russian Research Ship in Legal Dispute

The state-owned Akademik Ioffe was detained over its previous commercial activities providing passenger trips. Gordon Leggett / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Danish authorities have detained a Russian research vessel in the northern port of Skagen as part of a legal dispute with a Canadian company, the Russian Embassy in Denmark said Thursday.

The state-owned Akademik Ioffe, which belongs to Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, was detained on Monday and its documents seized, the Embassy said in a statement.

"The arrest of the vessel was carried out as an interim measure in a third-party claim," the Embassy said, without providing further details.

News agency TASS quoted the embassy saying there were 38 crew and 23 scientists on board.

"The lawsuit was launched by Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions Ltd. in connection with the previous commercial activities of the Akademik Ioffe," TASS quoted embassy attache Maria Syrovatko as saying.

One Ocean Expeditions, an adventure travel company based in Canada's western province of British Columbia, said in a 2019 statement on its website that it had begun chartering the Akademik Ioffe and another Russian research vessel for passenger trips in the early 2010s.

But the ships were "suddenly and unexpectedly withdrawn" from passenger service in 2019, in what it said was a breach of contract.

Canadian media reported that the Akademik Ioffe ran aground in August 2018 in the northern territory of Nunavut while chartered by One Ocean Expeditions and its more than 160 passengers and crew had to be rescued by the military and coast guard.

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