CARACAS, February 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia urged the Dominican Republic to free 17 Russian sailors stranded on board Carib Vision tanker, which was arrested during an anti-drug operation conducted by local police and the U.S. Office of Drug Control Policy.
The Russian embassy to Venezuela, which also represents Russian interests in the Dominican Republic, said a criminal case was launched against a U.S. national and vessel Eduardo Lariosa, while Russia crewmembers were forced hostages of the situation.
It recalled that two searches of the tanker exposed no illegal drugs onboard. “During the third search conducted in the absence of the crew and captain a cargo of drugs was found and criminal persecution of the vessel owner began.”
In the meantime, 17 Russian citizens are kept onboard the arrested ship. They participate in investigation and assist local judiciary by testifying.
The embassy urged “to release Russian citizens immediately after they provide evidence and guarantee their unimpeded return to Russia.”