ANKARA, Turkey -- Ankara has given formal permission to issue visas to six Ukrainian citizens, crewmembers of the Nemo cargo ship, arrested in Turkey.
The issue of the return of the Ukrainians to their homeland is being settled, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday.
"According to the information received from the Consulate General of Ukraine in Istanbul, at 1810 on January 5, the Kocaeli port police received official permission from Ankara to issue visas for all six Ukrainian citizens - former members of the crew of the Nemo vessel," the Foreign Ministry said.
The Ukrainian Consulate General is currently settling the issue of accommodating the sailors for the night and their return to Ukraine.
The case is controlled by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the press service reported.
As reported, seven Ukrainian sailors from the Nemo, an Estonian cargo ship that has been under arrest in the Sea of Marmara (Turkey) for a year, went on a hunger strike in a Turkish prison in the town of Derince on January 4, 2012.
The dry cargo ship was arrested by local authorities on January 11, 2011 due to the debt of the ship's bankrupt owner.
The ship was transferred to Swedbank Estonia due to the debtor's loans, but the crew then refused to leave the Nemo without getting salaries.
On December 28, 2011, the sailors left the ship and were placed in a Turkish police department, waiting for the permission to leave the country.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry reported that since December 28, the sailors were in the police department for work with foreigners in the city of Izmit, Kocaeli province.