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Tbilisi has thrown mariners overboard2011-09-13 21:28
It has been a year on September 8 since the Somali pirates captured the crew of the Georgian and Turkish mariners. The matter was widely discussed for the first half-year, but nothing has been heard of the mariners' fate in the last few months. There is a reason for that. The hostages' relatives refuse to contact the media on this sore issue, thus hoping to make the prisoners' life easier. Fundamentally, the people have been left face to face with their trouble, for the state has actually denied them support.
"Oilb G" tanker flying the flag of Malta was heading from India towards Egypt when it was attacked by the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The crew comprised thirteen Georgian and three Turkish citizens; all of them were seized by the pirates.
The mariners' relatives living mostly in Batumi were shocked, though maintained connection with them. The pirates wanted a ransom, regularly giving the prisoners a chance to talk to their family members. The situation was developing with much noise, being closely watched by television, with meetings and pickets. But four months ago everyone shut mouth as one.
Let us continue in chronological order. From the very first day when the mariners were taken hostages, their relatives chose the tactics of holding meetings and pickets so as to force the officials and the press to keep paying attention to them. They gathered at the stairs in front of the government of Adzharia almost twice a week, while relatives of some of the crew members promised to spend day and night in the street to push the authorities to any measures. Last autumn, the working days of local executives often started with making way through the picket lines.
In November 2010, when an opera singer Placido Domingo came on a tour to Batumi, the mariners' relatives tried to get at Mikhail Saakashvili during his concert. They failed; however, their petition was accepted by a security guard. As a result, local authorities were given an order to tackle the mariners' case. However, things ended up in regular meetings of the relatives with Head of Adzharian administration Levan Varshalomidze. They visited him twice a week but all he could say was: "We keep working on that".