Crew held over ‘insulting Erdoğan’ during passage through Dardanelles Strait released
ÇANAKKALEThe crew of a freighter, which had been passing through the Dardanelles Strait, was released early on June 9 after being held over allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during its passing, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The Turkish-origin captain of the Panama-flagged freighter “Salix,” identified only as O.B., was reported to have insulted the president on radio talks with the Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) during its passage through the strait as it was bound for the southern province of Mersin from Ukraine’s Berdyansk.
VTS officials reported the incident to the Çanakkale port authority and the captain was immediately removed from his seat. The chief mate reportedly took control over the vessel and it was anchored off the nearest spot, the north of Bozcaada, for legal proceedings.
Coast guard teams interrogated O.B. over the incident before referring him and the other three crew members to the police. They were later referred to court.
The head of the Çanakkale port authority, Ramazan Yılmaz, meanwhile stated that the captain was likely intoxicated.
“The captain of Salix, who was likely intoxicated, insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan via radio channel publicly. VTS authorities briefed me about the issue and I instructed them to anchor the ship and conduct necessary proceedings within the legal framework. I also wanted the urgent unseat of the captain as he was intoxicated and ordered the chief mate to navigate the ship to the nearest anchor spot,” Yılmaz said.
The captain and the three crew members were eventually released following their legal proceedings at the court early on June 9, the agency reported.