By Vafa Ismayilova
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has said that measures are underway to send to Baku the body of Azerbaijani citizen Farman Ismayilov, 45, who was killed in a pirate attack on a Turkish ship off the West African coast on January 23.
In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Abdullayeva said that the body is currently approaching Gabon's Port Gentil.
“On the basis of mutual coordination with Turkey, appropriate measures will be taken to bring the body to the homeland. Through the Turkish embassy in Gabon, the body will be sent to the capital Libreville. Afterwards, the body is planned to be sent to Azerbaijan via Turkey on the first flight of Turkish Airlines on January 26,” Abdullayeva said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that as soon as the ship enters the Gabonese port, the measures will be taken to send Azerbaijani engineer Farman Ismayilov's body to his homeland. He said that the ship reached the coast of Gabon, adding that he had spoken to the ship's captain on the phone.
“The ship is currently awaiting safe port entry. The negotiations were held with the Gabonese side to send technical assistance to the ship,” he said.
The minister stressed that the coordination work is underway to rescue the crew abducted by pirates.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that Cavusoglu also had a telephone call with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov, and expressed his condolences for Ismayilov who was killed in the attack. The two ministers discussed coordinated work to be carried out to send the slain engineer’s body to Azerbaijan via Turkey.
Armed pirates attacked the Turkish cargo ship M/V Mozart off the West African coast, kidnapping 15 of 19 crew members and killing one. News sources report that the Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Town in South Africa when it was attacked on January 23, 100 nautical miles (185 kilometres) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.
After kidnapping most of the crew, the pirates left the ship in the Gulf of Guinea with three sailors aboard, state-run Anadolu news agency said. According to reports, the pirates disabled most of the ship’s systems, leaving only the navigation system for the remaining crew to find their way to the port. The vessel is now anchored off neighbouring Gabon, and the body of the slain Azerbaijani is due to be brought to shore.
The Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
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