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Malta Court Gives Green Light For Sale Of Georgian-Registered Ship

The Georgian-flagged Vasilios N cargo ship has been docked in Valletta, Malta, for three months.
TBIILISI -- The crew of a Georgian-registered ship who made a dramatic escape from Libya earlier this year could finally be on their way home soon after a ruling by a court in Malta, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

The court gave formal permission on June 8 for the sale by auction of the Vasilios N, whose crew was stranded for months in a Libyan port until they managed to sail to Malta three months ago.

Iveri Qurashvili, the ship's captain, told RFE/RL that the sale of the vessel by auction has been scheduled for June 28. The proceeds will be used to finance the crew's return home.

The ship docked in the Libyan port of Misurata last summer and was impounded following a legal dispute with the contractual owner of its cargo of cement powder, which had been partially damaged in a storm.

The Italian company that owns the vessel failed to provide any assistance to its crew of six Georgians, three Ukrainians, and one Azerbaijani.

The crew finally managed to sail from Misurata in early March, navigating by the stars as the ship's navigational equipment had been damaged in a fire.