TBILISI, DFWatch – One Georgian crew member and the Azerbaijani captain have died after a Turkish tanker sunk off the coast of Albania on Sunday.
Georgia’s consulate in Turkey reports that the body of 22-year-old Beka Urushadze has been identified. The Embassy reports that one more Georgian, Malkhaz Lazishvili, is still missing following the accident, and some Caucasian news agencies are reporting him as deceased.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nino Kalandadze says the situation is complex and the government is therefore careful with releasing information until it is confirmed. The tanker Edirne had delivered three thousand tons of fuel in Durres, Albania. It was about to leave the harbour when the accident happened. Initial reports indicate that there was an explosion before the ship sank.
Interfax reports that two Ukrainians were rescued.
There are conflicting reports of how many people were aboard, with Interfax reporting 15, while Interpressnews, a Georgian agency, says 14.
The crew included Turkish, Azerbaijani and Ukrainians, in addition to Georgians.
Edirne had a deadweight of 4112 tons and was built in 1980. It flew the flag of Sierra Leone.
Georgia used to have a significant trade fleet, but the ships were sold following the country’s independence in 1991. Former ship crew became unemployed and later signed contracts for high risk jobs with little rights, according to the Georgian trade union, quoted by AFP.