TBILISI, October 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The pirates set free the Cape Bird tanker flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. The tanker was captured in the Nigerian territorial waters four days ago, Georgian Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Georgy Karbelashvili told reporters in Tbilisi on Friday. Some 20 crewmen, particularly 12 Georgian citizens, including the tanker captain, were onboard the Cape Bird tanker. All sailors were released, they are staying onboard the tanker and are feeling well, Karbelashvili said.
Karbelashvili noted that the pirates set the tanker free at the dawn on Friday. “Twelve Georgian sailors staying onboard the tanker will return to Georgia in a few days,” the deputy minister noted.
He noted that the maritime administration agency of the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development was engaged actively in the release operation of the Cape Bird crew. “The agency has formed an emergency response headquarters, which was keeping in touch with the shipowner and relevant international organizations and took all the effort to make the pirates release the sailors,” Karbelashvili said.
According to available reports, the pirates released the tanker after they agreed with the shipowner to pass the petrol tanks onboard the tanker to them.
The Cape Bird tanker was reported to be captured on October 11. The tanker was en route from the Dutch port of Rotterdam to Nigeria with petrol tanks. The pirates demanded from the shipowner to pass the petrol tanks to them or to pay a ransom for the petrol supplies and the tanker.