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Nigerian leadership decides to let 15 Russian sailors return home in days

December 26, 2012, 16:09 UTC+3
The Russian embassy in Nigeria and the ship’s owner are working on the technical details of arranging for the sailors’ flight back home
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MOSCOW, December 26 (Itar-Tass) — The Nigerian authorities have made a decision to set free fifteen Russian sailors – crewmembers of The Myre Seadiver, who have been kept for two months in the port of Lagos without any official charges brought against them.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the decision followed last week’s telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister and his Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru.

“The Russian embassy in Nigeria in cooperation with the ship’s owner are working on the technicalities of arranging for the sailors’ flight back home,” the Foreign Ministry said.

As follows from the statement, the Nigerian authorities’ decision stems from the wish “to retain the friendly climate of bilateral relations with Russia and from humanitarian reasons.”

“It is a step in the right direction,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

In the meantime, the future of the ship remains uncertain. It is being kept at a Nigerian naval base on the pretext of completing some investigation.

“No official charges against the ship’s owner or the crew have been brought to this day,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that it was keeping the situation under control and would press for a prompt and fair solution.

The Nigerian authorities detained the ship with a Russian crew in the port of Lagos on October 19. They claimed it had an improperly declared cargo of firearms on board.

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