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Black Sea pirates basing in Poti2011-02-11 21:05
A Russian vessel has again been detained in the port of Poti two days ago. Georgian side made claims on the crew of Naruksovo dry-cargo carrier, having accused it of polluting the water area with "harmful substances". Foreign ships are regularly detained in Poti. Only their names are different, while the rest remains unaltered: a police raid aboard, detention of the captain, accusation filing, a court, a fine, a release. As soon as you pay the fine you may go to the four winds. In other words, the port resembles a harbor of civilized pirates.
There is a court in the city of Poti that brings the biggest revenue to the Georgian budget. The court considers the cases on polluting local water area by foreign vessels. The team of the servants of law has long since churned out the process. It has been five years that the skilled judges have been awarding the same sentences that are written and even signed beforehand; they only leave a blank space for the amount of fine. As a rule, the point at issue is 35 - 70 thousand laris per vessel. The captain is additionally fined for a trifle sum of one or two thousand dollars.
There have been over forty incidents with foreign vessels over the last five years. It means that each month, the court of Poti adds another fifty thousand dollars to the budget in average. It is unclear what the money is spent on but it is quite possible that these means are planned beforehand by the city budget and are spent, for instance, on the accomplishment of municipal territories.
There is curious statistics: the court did not award a single sentence of acquittal over five years when forty foreign vessels were fined for dozens of thousands of dollars. The scheme has been working like an assembly line for a long time and the events that developed around the Naruksovo dry-cargo carrier confirm the scheme.
Early in the morning of February 9, crew members were woken by Georgian policemen who have got no habit of knocking on the door but who rushed on board the ship as if they were going to arrest some terrorists. Pavel Ushakov, the dry-cargo commander, was immediately taken to the city and several policemen were left on board to guard the rest of the crew members. Further events developed quickly. Ushakov had not even been taken to the police station yet when the court already opened a case according to Article 58 of the Administrative Code of Georgia "for the pollution of environment".