30 April 2012
Border guards said 12 crew members have been detained from two Turkish commercial ships that stopped at a Black Sea port in the breakaway region of Abkhazia without official Georgian approval.
The 12 Turkish citizens could face fines or prison sentences of up to five years. Abkhazia broke free from Georgian control in the 1990s, but its independence is recognized only by Russia and a handful of other countries. Under Georgian law, international vessels are required to pass customs in Georgia and get official approval to enter Abkhazia. The border guard service said April 28 that the sailors were detained on April 26 when they arrived in the Georgian port of Poti. The service said the two ships had stopped in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, earlier this year.