A Russian Pacific Fleet supply vessel rescued a North Korean schooner in the Sea of Japan and brought it in to the port of Nakhodka on Tuesday, navy and Defense Ministry officials said.
Russian Pacific Fleet sailors were on a mission to resupply ships south of Nakhodka Bay as part of ongoing large-scale naval exercises in the Far East, when they received a distress signal from a North Korean schooner that had drifted off course.
The supply vessel located the schooner, offered medical assistance and food to the North Korean sailors on board, and towed the vessel into port.
“Now the vessel is in the hands of the local authorities. The Pacific Fleet vessel will go back to carrying out the tasks set during the snap inspections to test the combat readiness of the Eastern Military District,” said fleet spokesman Captain First Rank Roman Martov.
An extensive snap readiness check in the Far East – the largest test of combat readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period – was ordered by President Vladimir Putin on Friday to begin early Saturday.
The exercise, involving about 160,000 servicemen, 5,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 Pacific Fleet warships, is due to end July 20.