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Passengers: We Were Forced Off Boat

June 8, 1998

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Hundreds of angry passengers on Sunday accused the captain of a Ukrainian cruise ship of cutting their trip short and forcibly taking them back to Ukraine.

The passengers, mainly Russians and Ukrainians, sent distress signals to a Turkish coast guard boat on Saturday as the ship headed toward the Black Sea, seeking help from their consulates.

Consular officials from Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan visited the ship Sunday and called on passengers to maintain order, the Russian Interfax news agency said.

``We were supposed to go to 12 ports and we did not,″ passenger Vladimir Kryzhanovskiy said aboard the ship.

After restocking food supplies, the ship left Istanbul for Odessa, Ukraine, the Anatolia news agency said.

Russian news agency ITAR-Tass said on Sunday that the ship cut the cruise short because the tour company failed to promptly pay the fares.

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