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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Border Guards Suspect Crew Sank Own Ship

Russian coast guards suspect that the crew of a trawler that sank after trying to elude them for 23 hours sank the ship themselves to destroy evidence of poaching, according to news agency reports Friday.

They also said that the captain was reported to have been killed when his vessel sank, but they now suspect he was hiding among 28 rank-and-file crew members who were picked up from lifeboats, Itar-Tass reported.

The vessel sank off Russia's southern Kuril Islands on Thursday after Russian coast guards fired warning shots, then fired directly at the ship. The Border Guards' press service had said Thursday that it had sunk as a result of the Coast Guard fire.

The press service could not confirm the news report Friday, saying no information would be revealed until the investigation had been completed.

The coast guards have frequent running battles with poachers in the rich fishing grounds off Russia's Pacific Coast.