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The Georgian border guards flying the jolly Roger2009-07-16 17:03
They say that one's appetite comes with eating. This popular saying is quite applicable to the behaviour of the Georgian authorities, who in these days are rather guided by the sword-law than by international law.
The Georgian coast guards have more than once detained sea-crafts cruising to Abkhazia or being discovered in its territorial waters. Let us remind you that on April, 6 the V.Uspenski motor vessel with the Russian crew was detained near the Georgian coast. According to preliminary information, the ship's crew flying the flag of Cambodia was accused of violating the maritime law. A motor vessel that was heading towards Azov from the Turkish port of Khopa was put at anchorage at the Batumi port. Later on, having paid a large fine, the dry-cargo ship with the crew was released.
After the incident, the Georgian coast guard motorboats detained several more ships; among them were the Densa Demet and Karagal tanker ships and the New Star 1 dry-cargo ship flying the Turkish flag. All the vessels were cruising to Abkhazia. According to the Georgian law, the coast and ports of Abkhazia have been announced a closed zone for the international maritime traffic. Up to recently, the trespassing ships detained by the Georgian border guards were generally released on paying a large fine.
The Abkhazian party referred to such kind of the Georgian authorities' actions as to illegal. Director of the Abkhazian ocean company Zaur Ardzinba even compared the Georgian border guards with the Somali pirates in Gulf of Aden.
However, the Georgian authorities decided to go further. The Somali pirates detain the captured tankers and dry-cargo ships until getting a repayment from the navigation companies' owners, while the Georgian authorities made up their mind to impose a demonstration punishment upon the Turkish ship owners by confiscating the Densa Demet tanker ship, so that it does not become a habit for others to carry out sea transportation to Abkhazia.
However, being an experienced lawyer, Mikhail Saakashvili decided to carry out this hazardous, from the international law standpoint, procedure using the methods untypical for the judicial practice. The Densa Demet Turkish tanker ship detained at the beginning of April was confiscated "upon the decision taken by the court of Gudauta and the city court of Gagra acting in exile". As is known, both the cities are located at the Abkhazian territory. The "Abkhazian government-in-exile" acting in Georgia is contesting the legitimate status of the Abkhazian authorities, which, according to Tbilisi, maintain de-facto control over the territory of the republic; however, de jure the Georgian Themis have announced them beyond the law.