Pantelena tanker with Russian sailors was held by pirates for nine days — captain

© REUTERS/Jorge Silva

TBILISI, August 26. /TASS/. Greek tanker Pantelena, with a crew of 17 Georgians and two Russians on board, has been released after being captured by pirates early on August 14, the ship’s captain Lasha Gadelia told the Public Television of Georgia.

Communication with the vessel owned by the Lotus Shipping Greek company was lost on August 14 at a distance of 74 kilometers from the port of Owendo (close to Libreville, Gabon). The navies of the regional countries were involved in the search operation. The ship was spotted off the coast of the Republic of the Congo on Thursday, has reached the port of Lome, the capital of Togo a day later.

“In the early hours of August 14, the tanker was captured by pirates, who held the crew for nine days. At that moment, my assistant was steering the vessel. They threatened him with firearms, and, after that, the tanker was hijacked. The pirates locked the crew in one of the cabins, where they were held for nine days,” Gadelia said.

“The pirates did no physical harm to the crew and gave them food and water from time to time,” he added.

The captain said the ship and its crew were released on August 23, but did not elaborate under what circumstances.

The Russian embassy in Gabon told TASS on Saturday that the condition of the Russian members of the crew was good and they have already contacted their relatives. “The issue of returning them to their homeland as soon as possible is now being studied,” the embassy said.

The Russian diplomatic mission added that “the reasons why the ship went off radar screens is still unknown.”.

Read the original article in full at TASS

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