A Russian yacht, mysteriously detained by North Korea late on Friday, was released by the reclusive East Asian country on Sunday without giving a reason for the detention. Officials from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry informed Russian diplomats in the country that the Elfin had been granted permission to leave and was already on its way to Russia, according to Russian media reports.
The Elfin, with five people on board, was sailing to Vladivostok in eastern Russia from Busan in South Korea after participating in an international regatta — a sailing competition.
“The yacht is very small, just 28 feet long. It is very easy to tug. The reasons remain unclear,” a spokesman for Seven Feet yachting club in Vladivostok told Tass news agency Saturday.
The vessel, belonging to Primorye Sailing Association, was detained by a North Korean coast guard ship in the Sea of Japan, about 80 miles from the port of Kosong in North Korea’s southeast, Tass reported.
On Saturday, the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang demanded an explanation for the yacht’s detention by North Korean coast guard. However, it seems no explanation was provided and the Elfin, which was being held at Kimchaek port, was released early on Sunday.
“We were told that there is a permission to leave the [Kimchaek] port and the country, without any further explanations,” Yuri Bochkarev, Russia’s consul general in Chongjin, the capital of North Korea’s North Hamgyong province, which is where Kimchaek port is located, told state-run news agency RIA Novosti Sunday.
Alexander Matsegora, Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, told Tass Sunday that they were trying to reach Elfin by phone and confirm it was sailing to Vladivostok.