Media: Operator of vessel with Ukrainian sailors seized by Libyans says bandits made political demands
The operator of the Etel, a ship seized by unidentified assailants in Benghazi, Libya, has said that the bandits put forward political demands, according to the Maritime Bulletin.
An article posted on the Web site of the bulletin notes that they received a letter from the operator of the ship stating that representatives of the port administration arrived at the ship and a car with a unit of the Libyan military drove up on the evening of July 21. Negotiations held between government representatives, the bandits' leader and the ship's captain resulted in nothing.
It turned out that the bandits "are protesting against Ukraine's unfriendly' actions against Libya, which is demanding the release of 20 citizens of Ukraine who have been imprisoned after the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. They said that their goal is to arrest every citizen of Ukraine who arrives in Libya," reads the statement.
According to the ship's operator, after those who seized the ship voiced their "demands," the authorities and the military left the ship and nobody intervened in the situation.
The article notes that the demands of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to the Libyan authorities to clarify the situation and "rein in the militants" have so far failed.
As reported, the Etel, a ship flying the flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis, with 19 Ukrainian citizens on board, was seized in the Libyan port of Benghazi by unidentified persons on July 17.
According to the Maritime Bulletin, those who seized the ship said that "they were defending the interests of 25 Libyan businessmen robbed by the owner of the Etel."