12 January 2016

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Indian court sentenced 35 crew members of USA Vessel to 5 years’ jail

Indian court sentenced 35 crew members of USA Vessel to 5 years’ jail

A trial court in Tuticorin in south Tamil Nadu on Monday convicted 23 foreign nationals, all of whom were onboard a detained U.S. anti-piracy vessel ‘MV Seaman Guard Ohio’, under provisions of the Arms Act.

Trial court awarded five-year jail terms to 10 crew and 25 security guards who were on the American vessel ‘MV Seaman Guard Ohio’

Eight people charged with supplying diesel for the ship were acquitted,"

Vessel crew included eight Indians and two Ukrainians while six Britishers, 14 Estonians, one Ukrainian and four Indians were among the security guards on the ship.

The MV Seaman Guard Ohio is a Sierra Leone-flagged former fishery patrol vessel
owned and operated by AdvanFort, a Virginia (USA) based private maritime security company that provides commercial anti-piracy protection services to merchant vessels

The MV Seaman Guard Ohio was intercepted on 12 October 2013 beyond the ICC CSS High Risk Area and within Indian Customs Waters by ICGS Naiki Devi. The vessel was escorted to the VOC Chidambaranar Port in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin).

An alert by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), led to the interception of the U.S. vessel off the Tuticorin Coast on October 11. Indian Coast Guard Ship Naikidevi intercepted the vessel.

The ‘Q’ Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu, investigated the case.

The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police seized 35 firearms, 5,682 ammunitions, 102 magazines, travel documents of the crew and logbook of the vessel.

The 10 crew and 25 guards were interrogated by a federal multi-agency joint investigation team comprising members of the Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Customs, Research and Analysis Wing and the Q Branch of India's Intelligence Bureau.

On 10 July 2014, a judge of the Madras High Court dismissed the charges against the crew and armed guards, while reaffirming that the captain and the fuel vendor were liable to punishment for the ship's being refueled with subsidized diesel fuel

On 01 July 2015, the Indian Supreme Court heard an appeal filed by the CID ‘Q’ Branch police against the 2014 judgement by the Madras High Court. Supreme Court Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre set aside the High Court’s decision as “illegal and erroneous.” explaining that “The very fact that huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the crew members from the vessel and they were unable to satisfy their legal possession over such arms/ammunition is sufficient to attract the provisions of Arms Act,”.

The Supreme Court ordered the Tuticorin District Principal Sessions Court to complete the trial of the case and give its judgment within six months.
The Supreme Court had issued deadline to complete the legal proceedings before January 23, 2016.

January 11, 2016 –
District Principal Sessions Court Judge N. Rajasekar pronounced the accused guilty of charges under the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.
Honorable judge of Tuticorin District Principal Sessions Court sentenced all the 10 crew and 25 guards to undergo 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 3000 each
All the accused were present in the court when court sentenced them.

Reality views by sm –

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tags – Arms Act US Vessel Ship Crew Jail


rudraprayaga January 12, 2016  

X or Y if committed crime,punishment should follow.Good info.

Destination Infinity January 13, 2016  

Their crime was refueling with subsidized diesel or illegal possession of arms? Either way, most are not Indian citizens and the arms might have been required for their commercial anti-piracy activities. Hope the court has taken these points into consideration.

Destination Infinity