[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

India arrests US ship crew over weapons

The crew was charged with illegal possession of weapons and entering Indian territorial waters without permission.

Last Modified: 18 Oct 2013 22:07
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Crew members were arrested on charges of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. [AFP]

Police in the southern Indian port city of Tuticorin have arrested the crew of a US-owned ship on charges of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition in Indian waters.

Eight crew members and 25 security guards aboard the MV Seaman Guard Ohio were arrested on Friday after they failed to produce documents allowing them to carry the weapons, said India's foreign secretary, Sujata Singh.

The men, from India, the UK, Estonia and Ukraine, were charged with illegal possession of weapons and ammunition, and entering India's territorial waters without permission, said Singh.

The crew and security guards are co-operating with the investigators

Sujata Singh, Foreign Secretary

"The crew and security guards are co-operating with investigators," she said, adding that information about the case had been shared with representatives from the US embassy in New Delhi.

Police said that they had seized 35 automatic weapons and nearly 5,700 rounds of ammunition from the security guards on the ship.

Two of the crew members were not arrested and were allowed to stay on board to carry out maintenance.

The ship is owned by the Virginia-based security company, AdvanFort, but is registered in Sierra Leone. It was detained on October 12 and has been in Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu state.

AdvanFort's president, William Watson, said: "The Indian coast guard approached us and asked us to follow them into the port. We would never have entered Indian waters otherwise."

The ship's captain told investigators that the company provided armed escorts to merchant vessels travelling in areas of the Indian Ocean prone to piracy.

India is currently sensitive about the presence of armed security guards on merchant ships after two Italian marines shot dead two fishermen last year, after mistaking them for pirates. The marines are facing trial in India for the deaths.

314

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.