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Russian sailors from detained Sea Shark tanker return home

Crew members of the detained vessel spent about six months locked up in smoking rooms

MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Two Russian crew members of the Sea Shark oil tanker, detained by Egypt late last year, have already returned to their homes, the Seafarers’ Union of Russia has said on its website.

The tanker was arrested by Egypt in December 2018 for illegally entering the country’s territorial waters. The crew of the Panama-flagged vessel comprised 31 members, including 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and 11 nationals of India, as well as one national of the Philippines, one - of Sri Lanka and one - of Azerbaijan. Earlier it was reported that Ukrainian sailors had returned to their homeland.

"Two Russian sailors, crew members of <...> the Sea Shark (Panama flag, IMO number 8919154), have successfully returned to Russia and are now with their families," the union said in a statement.

According to the Russian trade union, crew members of the detained vessel spent about six months locked up in smoking rooms.

"Throughout this period, the Egyptian authorities tried to confiscate the ship’s cargo of oil, but the captain refused to issue the permit for unloading, because he was not sure that the operation was safe. Everything that happened on board the ship clearly violated not only the sea laws, but the basic human rights as well," the statement reads.

According to earlier reports, the Egyptian authorities planned to release the crew but keep under arrest the tanker, loaded with crude oil, until the fine of $56 million is paid.