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    FIVE SHIPS STOPPED ON THEIR WAY TO BATUMI

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    TBILISI, March 16 (RIA Novosti) - Ships of Georgia's naval defense and coastal guard have stopped five ships heading for the Batumi port on March 16 and convoyed them to the Poti port, commander of the Georgian naval defense, Admiral Zurab Iremadze told RIA Novosti.

    "All the five ships - tankers and dry cargo ships - belong to other countries," said Zurab Iremadze. He remarked that captains of the ships had agreed to change the course and head for Poti.

    Launches of Georgia's coastal guard and naval defense began patrolling the Adzharian section of the Georgian territorial waters on March 16.

    The Georgian president's decision to close the Batumi seaport, Batumi airport and the customs in Sarpi on the Georgian-Turkish border was approved by the government's emergency session held in Poti (western Georgia) on March 15.

    The decision to close the Batumi port was in particular aimed at preventing transportation of weapons, hardware and manpower outside of Georgia.

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