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Thursday Arrival Scheduled for Kidnapped Bulgarian Sailors

Date: 16.06.2010

The Bulgarian sailors from the Asian Glory ship, who were released recently by the Somali pirates are expected to arrive in Bulgaria Thursday.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Vesela Cherneva, announced Wednesday that the 8 sailors will land at the airport in the Black Sea capital Varna at 9:15 pm with a flight from London.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov further confirmed the sailors have reached Oman safely on Tuesday, are undergoing medical tests, and will travel to Bulgaria on Thursday.

Mladenov reports the sailors are in good health but need rest, adding the Ministry had organized a trip to the Bulgarian SPA resort of Hisarya for the sailors from the other recently released ship St. James Park and for their families. Mladenov promised to do the same for those from Asian Glory.

Asian Glory was hijacked on 1 January 2010, almost 1 000 km off the coast of Somalia, with 10 Ukrainians, 8 Bulgarians, 5 Indians, and 2 Romanians on board. It was loaded with 2 405 cars from South Korean shipped from Singapore to Saudi Arabia.

After the release of the eight Bulgarian sailors from Asian Glory, and the recent release of the St. James Park tanker, where 5 Bulgarians were held in captivity for more than four months, only the 15-member, all Bulgarian crew of the Bulgarian-flagged ship MV Panega remain in the hands of the Somali pirates.

Reports of EUNAVFOR Somalia over the past few months said the pirates might have used the Asian Glory as a mother ship for hijacking operations because the vessel was spotted several times in the open seas off the Somali coast.

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