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Captain sentenced to 2 years

Captain sentenced to 2 years
Georgia has jailed the master of 1976-built, 3,560 dwt Buket, a chemical tanker seized en route to the breakaway state of Abkhazia earlier this month.

Georgia has jailed the master of 1976-built, 3,560 dwt Buket, a chemical tanker seized en route to the breakaway state of Abkhazia earlier this month.

Georgia has jailed the master of 1976-built, 3,560 dwt Buket, a chemical tanker seized en route to the breakaway state of Abkhazia earlier this month.

Captain Mehmet Coskun Ozturk was found guilty of violating Georgian customs rules and sentenced to two years in prison, while the owner of the vessel has been fined an unspecified amount.

The vessel and its crew of 13 Turks and four Azerbaijanis was arrested at Poti while on its way to the Abkhazian capital, Sukhumi. Georgian law forbids vessels from entering the Abkhazian waters, because it refuses to recognise Abkhazia as independent.

Manager Densa Tanker Management commented in a statement: ?We will take all the necessary legal actions to achieve primarily the release of our crew; then the release of our cargo and our vessel.?

Abkhaz president Sergey Bagapsh insisted that his Russian-backed republic would respond with ?proportional measures? to what he called ?Georgian piracy?. He also urged the United Nations and the European Union to stop Georgia from mounting a blockad of his territory.

Meanwhile, Tbilisi has insisted that it had acted correctly. Shota Malashhiya, head of a Georgian parliamentary panel, said: ?Any vessel which has violated the maritime territory of Georgia will be detained.?

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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