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Abkhazia protests over seizure of Ukrainian dry cargo ship by Georgia

SUKHUM (Itar-Tass) – Abkhazia’s Foreign Ministry has issued a protest over the seizure by Georgian naval forces of a Ukrainian dry cargo ship that called into Abkhazian territorial waters previously.

“Georgia continues the policy of Abkhazia’s economic isolation by seizing commercial ships that head for or traverse the territorial waters of the Republic of Abkhazia,” the note said.

“Such actions on the part of Georgia contravene the international law of the sea and humanitarian law and are rightfully considered to be acts of aggression,” the ministry said.

Abkhazia voices indignation over “the complete inactivity of international missions in Georgia, since their presence in that country does not help normalize the situation in any way and practically connives at the acts of aggression on the part of the Georgian government.”

The ministry asked all the participants in the Geneva discussions on stabilization in South Caucasus “to take urgent measures towards preventing such provocations on the part of Georgia in the future.”

Georgia’s Coastal Guard on Thursday detained the Akkord dry cargo carrier in the port of Poti where it had arrived with a consignment of grain in its holds.

Georgian authorities accused the crew of “illegally crossing the country’s maritime border on a previous occasion.”

According to the information released by the Coastal Guard, the twelve-strong crew consists of eleven citizens of Ukraine and a citizen of Russia,

Neither the ship’s captain nor the sailors have been arrested. They are staying aboard the ship and have the freedom of movement.

Under Georgia’s laws, offenses of this kind imply responsibility of the ship owner. This means that the Akkord will either be confiscated or its owners will have to pay a heavy fine.

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