NEWS

Turks release captain, crew of trawler ship

ALEXANDROUPOLIS (Combined reports) – The Greek captain of a trawler ship and his four Egyptian crew members, who had been in detention since their arrest by Turkish Port Authority officials off the island of Samothrace on Wednesday, were yesterday due to return to Greece following their release. A heavily armed Turkish patrol boat on Wednesday towed the D. Moralis trawler from international waters, a few kilometers southeast of the islet of Zourafa, to the neighboring Turkish port of Enez after officials told Captain Yiannakos Moralis, 45, that they were obliged to detain him and his four-strong crew after allegedly seeing them fishing in Turkish waters. (The Greek navy and Greek fishermen both said their radar readings showed the D. Moralis had stayed in international waters.) Another Greek trawler ship, which sped to the scene after receiving a distress call from Moralis, attempted to obstruct Turkish efforts to tow away the D. Moralis but could not compete with the Turkish patrol boat which, witnesses said, was around 60 meters long and heavily laden with weaponry. Turkish authorities are to hold the trawler until the end of May when a local court will decide what will become of it, Moralis told relatives in Alexandroupolis on the telephone yesterday. He said he had been treated well during his interrogation. Meanwhile, the president of the northern city’s Fishermen’s Association, Ioannis Kolosendas, accused the Greek government of indifference, noting that his sector had made an official request for the presence of a navy patrol boat in the Thracian Pelagus to protect Greek fishermen from the illegal activities of Turkish Port Authority staff. «The Turks protect their fishermen and they treat international waters as if they are their own national waters. Who is going to protect us?» Kolosendas said. (ANA, Kathimerini)