TBILISI, DFWatch — Twelve Georgian sailors have asked for help from Panama as they are five km away from the nearest port and running out of food and electricity.
The sailors are aboard the Maria Del Carmen sailing under Nigerian flag and have been out for three months. Without electricity, the fridge isn’t working, they are low on food and have a bad telephone connection.
The Nigerian owner of the ship have left them to themselves and ceased contact with the sailors.
Maia Panjikidze, Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, on Monday stated that Georgia is in contact with the sailors.
“This is a Nigerian ship, very old and damaged. That’s why it is not allowed in to port. The sailors want to get back to Georgia, but it’s not an easy case, because several important details need to be sorted out,” the minister says.
She explains that the ship has a large debt to the sailors. Georgia will meet the debt, and is trying to organize their return in cooperation with international organizations.
According to the minister, the Ambassador of Georgia to Mexico has already visited the sailors.
There is a danger that the ship may sink, if it is not rescued soon.
The Georgian sailors say that they have two demands: to get back to Georgia and to receive their salaries. They haven’t been paid for between two and four months.
“Panama is a corrupt country and nobody’s interested in us. We appealed to everyone, but no one is interested in our fate. We have hope in the Georgian government,” IPN quotes Giorgi Janelidze, who is on the ship. He says food will be enough for two more days and there is one ton of fuel — enough for three days.