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Ship with 17 Georgian Soldiers Goes Missing

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 20
A ship sailing under the flag of Panama, with 17 Georgian sailors aboard, has gone missing.

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the contact with the vessel Pantelena IMO 9321469, carrying oil, was cut off on August 14.

The last contact was found in the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa.

“Greek company Lotus Shipping is carrying out the search. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Sea Transport Agency of the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development of Georgia, is in coordination with the ship-owner company to clarify the situation.

“We are actively working with Panama Flag Organization, too. The maritime forces of the region, as well as the United Kingdom Maritime Center - UKMTO are involved in the case", the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

Vladimir Konstantinidi, deputy director of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia says that there is a likelihood that the loss of a ship is related to piracy.

He claims that the bank of West Africa, where the last contact was made with the Pantelena ship, is a risk area.

"We cannot confirm or rule out any version. There is a likelihood that we are dealing with piracy. Of course, we are working in this direction," Konstantinid said.