Island of Luck: crew released in Congo

The court of Kinshasa in the Congo has acquitted seven Ukrainians and one Russian detained as part of an investigation into a murder, the Ukrainian foreign minister.

The Panama-flagged Victoria Oceanway LTD Island of Luck cargo vessel, with a 23-member crew from Aina Treding Ltd, including 15 Ukrainians and four Russians, was detained on October 20 in Matadi, the main port of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Seven Ukrainians and one Russian were arrested and police accused three Ukrainians of murdering a local resident and beating several others.

"In the presence of the Ukrainian ambassador the court ruled to acquit seven Ukrainian nationals and one Russian," Petro Poroshenko told journalists.

He said the sailors will be brought to the Russian diplomatic mission and then flown to Paris, adding that Ukraine has no embassy in the Congo, but that they will be accompanied by Ukraine's ambassador in Gabon until departure. The sailors are expected at home on Monday.

Poroshenko quoted the ship captain as saying the health of the sailors is good.

The Island of Luck vessel brought 12 metric tons of rice worth $12,000 to Matadi on October 4. When preparing to release the ship from port, Congolese officials found three locals in the water near the vessel. The suspected illegal migrants were allegedly beaten by the crew and thrown overboard. A fourth reportedly drowned.

However, no traces of violence were found on three of the Congolese men, while the body of the fourth was buried without an autopsy on October 22.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website on November 03, 2009 that "the Russian Embassy in Kinshasa [the Congolese capital] is keeping the situation under control."

A Russian embassy source [then] told RIA Novosti that no official charges had yet been brought against the crew and the Ukrainian members of the crew were the chief suspects.

...meanwhile the vessel was reported on January 22, 2010 at São Paulo, Brazil

ISLAND OF LUCK - 24°17'47" S 44°56'55" W - GG75MQ68DU
Source callsign: 3FDT7
MMSI number: 355064000
IMO number: 850857700
Navigational status: Under way (engine) (0)
Vessel class: Cargo (70)
Destination: TEMA (ETA 20090918160000) Ghana
Location: 24°17'47" S 44°56'55" W - locator GG75MQ68DU - show map - static map
44.1 miles Southeast bearing 144° from Ilhabela, São Paulo, Brazil

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