Nineteen Ukrainian crew members of the Etel vessel, which were freed in Libya on August 29, are refusing to return to their homeland demanding the employer pay their wages, the Komsomolska Pravda in Ukraine newspaper wrote on Friday.

"Early in the morning, the alarm sounded on the Ethel, the entire crew was summoned to the bridge and they said we were free. The Arabs hid their weapons and began packing their camp-cots and beds, loaded everything into minivans and drove away. No one paid any attention to us. According to sailors, immediately after their release they had a choice: to go home or to fight with the employer," sailor Oleksandr told the newspaper, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

"The Foreign Ministry offered to send us home by the next flight. At first we were very happy, but the captain said that they recruited a new team for the Etel and he was not going to pay us any money. If we leave the ship, we will be left holding an empty bag. We have not much choice. We will fight on," he said.

The sailor said that the Etel will be released into the sea and will sail in the direction of Greece, where the crew will be waiting for news from Odesa. 

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