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Georgia Detains Vessel En Route from Abkhazia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Aug.'09 / 14:25

Georgian coast guard detained a vessel heading from breakaway Abkhazia, the second case of this type in last two days, the Georgian Border Police reported on August 20.

The vessel, flying the Cambodian flag, with seven crew members onboard – all citizens of Syria – was transporting 1,255 tones of ferrous metal scrap from the breakaway region’s capital Sokhumi to Turkey, according to the Border Police.

The Georgian law on occupied territories bans economic activities in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi’s authorization. 

On August 17 Georgia detained a Turkish cargo vessel carrying fuel to the breakaway region’s capital Sokhumi, triggering the Abkhaz side’s protest. Captain of the vessel, a Turkish citizen, was sent to pre-trial detention by the Georgian court and the vessel may be put up for auction.

Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said after the Turkish vessel was detained that Sokhumi would resort to “proportional measures” to protect vessels en route to, and from Abkhazia if Tbilisi continued “piracy”.

Sergey Shamba, the foreign minister of breakaway region, told Interfax news agency, that Abkhazia had enough force to give “a proportional” response to Georgia’s actions.

According to the Georgian Border Police total of four vessels were detained this year for unauthorized economic activities in Abkhazia.

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