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Georgia Punished Russia At Sea2010-04-22 16:15
The court of the city of Batumi fined the Russian tanker "Sаratov City" for almost 40 000 dollars. The Georgian part motivates its decision by the fact that the ship polluted the Black Sea. The Captain Alexander Nikitenko got a personal fine of 730 dollars. How to assess such craving of Tbilisi for the purity of its environment and to the transparency of its coastal waters?
The Georgian coast guards arrested Sаratov City last week, but the relevant information was published just last Monday. The vessel built in the middle of the 1990s is registered in Astrakhan. It is owned by the Volzhskoe Neftenalivnoe Parokhodstvo Open Joint-Stock Company.
To avoid any politicization of the event Tbilisi reminds that vessels are arrested for such infringements not only selectively. They refer to the case of 8 April, when in Poti Georgian border guards arrested the «Ioli» vessel under the Panama flag, and four days later the tanker was released after paying a fine of the same 37 000 dollars plus 1100 dollars for ecological damage.
Actually, the Georgian coast guards arrests foreign vessels quite often for violation of navigation rules and sea pollution. As a rule, violating vessels are released after fine payment.
However, now that the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili complains to Americans about Russia preventing him to build democracy any incident between Tbilisi and Moscow acquires a political implication thanks to mass media.
The memory still keeps in mind the pseudo-sensation of last year, when Georgians arrested the «V.Uspensky» motor ship with 14 Russian citizens (crew members) on board. Then the Russian media community immediately drew a parallel between the actions of the Georgian coast guard units and Somali pirates. The insignificant dry cargo arrest incident became one of the main subjects for Russian mass media just a few hours after the publication.
The mass media wrote how the ship was attacked by 13 paratroopers armed with submachine guns who got the seamen's passports and the vessel papers. After the vessel examination the it was left in the roads of the Batumi port till the clarification of all circumstances. How the examination group left the board taking away all the vessel documents and leaving on board four representatives of the Georgian coast guard.