Deputy Director-General for Consular Service and Head of the Consular Support Department at Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Vasyl Kyrylych has said all Ukrainian crewmembers of a Panama-registered oil tanker, Sea Shark, detained in Egypt in December 2018 for the violation of Egypt's borders, left the Egyptian Navy's military base where they were kept, while formal measures for their return home are under way.
"All Ukrainian sailors from the Sea Shark vessel have left the Egyptian Navy's base. Now, preparatory formal arrangements for their return to Ukraine are under way. The consul is waiting for the captain [Vitaliy Nesterenko] at the embassy," he told UNIAN on May 28.
As UNIAN reported earlier, a member of the Sea Shark crew informed Ukraine's Embassy in Egypt about the detention of the oil tanker by the Egyptian authorities for the violation of Egypt's borders.
The captain of the vessel, Vitaliy Nesterenko, confirmed that the vessel had gone adrift and accidentally entered into the territorial waters of Egypt. At that time, the ship was in the port of Berenice (subordinate to the Ministry of Defense of Egypt).
The Egyptian side fined the shipowner company over the said offense and the crew's passports were seized.
Having receiving the relevant permission of the Egyptian naval forces, the Sea Shark vessel was on April 25 removed from the anchor in the port of Berenice and departed to Egypt's Ein El Sokhna Port, located 100 km from Cairo, where the replacement of crew members was to take place. Yet, on April 27, when the ship arrived at the port of Ein El Sokhna, the Egyptian military prosecutor's office demanded that the crew unload the crude oil the ship was carrying over an alleged environmental threat that is possible if it leaked into the water area.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry demanded that the Egyptian side explain the detention of a tanker with 17 Ukrainians on board.
On May 19, the Egyptian military banned access of Ukraine's consul to 17 Ukrainian sailors kept at the Egyptian Navy's base. On May 20, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry promised to help Ukrainians return home.
On May 27, five Ukrainian crewmembers of the Sea Shark vessel finally returned to Ukraine.