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Tunisia court dismisses case against crew of sunken tanker

The loss of the tanker Xelo off the Tunisian coast in April sparked a pollution alert before it was realised the ship's tanks were empty
— Tunis (AFP)

A Tunisian court dismissed all charges Thursday against the crew of a tanker that sank off the coast in April triggering a pollution alert before it emerged its tanks were empty,

The court in the southern port city of Gabes ordered the immediate release of the seven crew members -- a Georgian, four Turks and two Azerbaijanis -- who had been in custody since April, spokesman Mohamed Karray told AFP.

Prosecutors said they would appeal against the court's decision.

The tanker Xelo was thought to have been carrying 750 tonnes of diesel when it went down in rough seas in the Gulf of Gabes off southern Tunisia on April 16.

But divers from an Italian naval vessel specialised in marine pollution clean-up later found that its tanks were empty.

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