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Georgia catching Russian captain by lifeboat2010-11-15 12:46
Pranik, a vessel under Moldavian flag with Russians and Ukrainians on board was arrested in the port of Poti. Local authorities claim that the decision made by captain Sergey Goloshyapov, a Russian citizen, to launch a lifeboat without approval of the port's state control service implies a USD 30-thousand fine. It is unclear yet if the coast guard of the republic is flexing muscles, or departure of Arab investors from the port of Poti has been a too heavy blow to Georgian economy.
Detaining foreign vessels in Georgian territorial waters seems to grow into a habit with the coast guard. It's no surprise though: state leader Mikheil Saakashvili constantly tells how recklessly he conquered corruption in the republic and is ready to share the recipe. According to all known laws, when something is lost somewhere, something else is found elsewhere.
Ok, there is no sheer bribery in the country (corruption has long been elitist) but it has to be admitted that a USD 280 salary of a policeman is hardly exorbitant even in Georgia. Yes, probably, Georgian security officials like all state structures are paid bonuses. Though, as we know, they have to be earned, preferably in a lawful way. As a result, honest law-enforcement officers see criminals they can heroically detain almost everywhere.
This spring the court of Batumi fined Saratov City tanker (Russia) USD 40 thousand for water pollution in the Black Sea. Ioli ship owners (Panama) too had to pay a fine for environmental damage to the zealous coast guard.
It should be acknowledged that sometimes such incidents acquire a political significance thanks to mass media. We all remember very well the pseudo sensation of 2009 when V. Uspensky motor vessel carrying Russian citizens was detained. As the press wrote, a group of 13 persons armed with submachine guns boarded the ship. Ship documents and passports of the crew were taken away, and the Boarding Team left four representatives of the Georgian Coast Guard on board. In reality, the Russian Federation Interests Section at the Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia promptly found out that the dry-cargo freighter decided to pass through a no-sail zone to save the fuel. Nothing else.