Moscow Tries to Secure Return of Russia's Tanker Crew From Capetown

The Foreign Ministry of Russia has been active to secure the return to Russia of the tanker Argun and its crew situated in the South African port of Capetown, said the Foreign Ministry's press and information department.

"The Foreign Ministry of Russia, our embassy in Pretoria and the consulate-general in Capetown have been following the developments ever since the conflict erupted over the Argun's crew." They "have repeatedly raised before Russian departments, the shipowner and the charterer - Oil Compact company - the need to return the vessel and crew back to Russia," says the ministry in a press release.

"That some of the crew are now back home is thanks to the foreign ministry of this country and its contribution to resolving this issue," it was stressed at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The consulate-general of Russia in Capetown is continuing regular contacts with the master and crew of Argun, giving them legal and other practical assistance," it is noted in the document.

As was earlier reported, the tanker, which is an auxiliary ship of the Pacific fleet, was leased out to the commercial agency Oil Compact, whose offices are headquartered in Vladivostok. The tanker supplied ships at South East Asia seas and then off the African coast. In October 2002 the firm left the ship to the mercy of fate, stopping financing its activity and providing the crew with food.

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