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7 Apr, 2009 12:58

Georgians seize a ship with 14 Russains on board

Georgian coastal guards have detained a freighter with 14 Russian citizens aboard off Batumi, the capital of Georgia's former breakaway region, Adzharia.

The ship is accused of crossing into Georgia's territorial waters.

The captain of the ship says 13 armed coast guards boarded the ship and took away documents. Representatives of the Georgian coastal service say the Russians violated shipping rules in Georgia’s territorial waters. The authorities say the ship will be set free once a fine of approximately $30 thousand is paid.

“The crew members were not arrested, and have the right of free movement around Batumi,” say the Georgian coastal authorities.

The V. Uspensky freighter flying the Cambodian flag, was floating from the Turkish port of Hopa to the Russian port of Azov. All of the crew were Russian citizens.

It is the tenth time a foreign ship has been seized by Georgia this year. Over the past 5 years, some 80 foreign vessels were detained by Georgia’s coastal guards. The ships were mainly flying the flags of Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, and Russia, and were accused of violating shipping and fishing regulations.

Many of those accidents happen off Batumi, the capital of Georgia’s former breakaway region of Abkhazia, whose long-lasting bid for independence was eventually recognized by Russia in August 2008 and later by Nicaragua.