Nineteen Ukrainian crew members of the Etel vessel, which was freed in Libya on August 29, are refusing to return to their homeland demanding the employer pay their wages, Komsomolska Pravda in Ukraine newspaper wrote on Friday, reports Interfax.
“Early in the morning, the alarm sounded on the Ethel, the entire crew was summoned to the bridge and they said we were free”. - Sailor Alexander told the newspaper.
"The Foreign Ministry offered to send us home by the next flight. At first we were very happy, but the captain said that they recruited a new team for the Ethel and he was not going to pay us any money. If we leave the ship, we will be left holding an empty bag. We have not much choice. We will fight on", - he said.
According to the sailor the Etel will be released into the sea and will sail in the direction of Greece, where the crew will be waiting for news from Odessa.
As reported, on July 17, 2013, the Etel ship with 19 Ukrainians on its board was seized in the Libyan port of Benghazi. Those who seized insisted they were protecting the interests of 25 Libyan businessmen who were robbed by the owner of the Etel (the issue concerns nearly 600 cars worth about $9.5 million). Cars transporting from Jordan to Benghazi were unloaded in Ukraine, not at the point of destination.
A number of media later circulated reports that the Libyans had demanded the return of the cars or payment of their value as a condition for the release of the Ukrainian sailors.
On August 25, the Sea Amazon, a dry cargo ship carrying cars demanded by Libyan businessmen to free Ukrainians they have taken captive, departed for the port of Benghazi (Libya).