Photo: 37761065 / Bulkcarrier©Unkas1978 | Dreamstime.com / Image for illustration purposes only
The Georgian sailors, who had been kidnapped from a ship anchored in the territorial waters of Gabon, were released on May 21 from captivity as a result of “continuous” efforts of the Ministry, the Georgian Embassy in South Africa and the Maritime Transport Agency, the Foreign Ministry of Georgia said in a statement.
Few details have been released on the circumstances of the incident but reports said on May 2, at night, three sailors were kidnapped from a ship anchored in Gabon’s territorial waters, including two Georgian citizens, according to the information of the Maritime Transport Agency of Georgia with reference to the Georgian Consulate in South Africa.
According to preliminary data, the sailors are currently undergoing a medical examination in Nigeria, and their health condition is reported to be “satisfactory”, the Ministry noted in its statement, adding that the employing company is facilitating their travel arrangements and the sailors will be returning home shortly.
Georgian sailors were abducted from a sailing ship under the flag of Marshall Islands in central Africa, Gabon, central Africa. Since then, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, the Embassy of Georgia in South Africa and the Maritime Transport Agency have been working continuously to help the Georgian citizens. The Georgian Consulate in South Africa was also in constant contact with the Gabon Embassy in Pretoria and representatives of the employer company.
The Georgian sailors were released from captivity on May 21.
The Maritime Transport Agency thanked the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the Consulate Generals of Georgia in South Africa, Ethiopia, New York State and Singapore, as well as the ship-owning company and all involved parties, “whose joint work resulted in the successful release of the sailors from captivity”.
The release of the crew comes two weeks after Danish bunker supplier Monjasa reported that it had also been able to secure the release of six crew members taken from its vessel the Monjasa Reformer. The six crew members who were kidnapped from the oil tanker, Monjasa Reformer, have been safely recovered following the hijacking of the vessel on 25 March 2023 off Congo.
The ship was 140 nautical miles off Congo and had 16 crew members on board.
“All recovered crew members are in a relatively good health condition given the difficult circumstances they have been under in the last more than five weeks. They have all been receiving medical checks and are now being repatriated to their home countries to reunite with their families,” said at that time Monjasa Group CEO, Anders Østergaard in a statement.