Most of the crewmembers from the Russian Mekhanik Chebotarev tanker captured in Libya are Astrakhan residents, regional deputy transport prosecutor Alexander Pryakhin said.
"Almost all the crewmembers of the captured ship are Astrakhan residents - eight of the twelve in the crew. There are no communications with them. The regional transport prosecutor's office is keeping this issue under control," Pryakhin told Interfax on Sept.21.
Last time the Mekhanik Chebotarev called at the seaport of Astrakhan was in 2012, the ministry of industry, transport and natural resources in the Astrakhan region said. The ship has further operated on Russian inland water routes and in the areas of the Azov, Black, Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.
The Oil Marine Group Company which owns the tanker said earlier that the incident took place on September 16. The tanker was stopped by a warship flying the colors of Libya in international waters. The ship was sailing empty in the direction of the port of Zawia, Libya. It was planned to unload at the harbor of the port Zawia or Zarzis, Tunisia.
Getting on board the ship the Libyan military did not say the reasons for the halt. They transferred two crewmembers on board the warship and ordered the tanker captain to follow them, disconnecting the automatic identification system.
The ship was further convoyed to the port of Tripoli, where it was anchored. Documents and mobile phones were confiscated from the whole crew. All ship documentation was seized as well.
The Mekhanik Chebotarev, which was registered at the port of Astrakhan, sailed to Libya from Rostov-on-Don.
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