This is to bring to your attention the status of an ongoing case regarding a ship – the MV Seaman Guard Ohio – that is pending before the Supreme Court.
In October 2013, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, a Sierra Leone-registered ship chartered by a US company, AdvanFort International, was arrested by the Indian coast guards after it was discovered off the coast of Tamil Nadu. The vessel was a floating platform that provided accommodation to AdvanFort’s counter-piracy guards. As such, it had a number of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) and also arms and ammunition on board. Over a year and a half later the crew and the PCASP are trapped in India, as the case is yet to be resolved.
The vessel had been drifting in Indian territorial waters after a typhoon had struck the east coast of India and was in a distress situation as it was running out of fuel and food. Indian authorities allege that arms were stored illegally on board and that there had been illegal bunkering of fuel within territorial waters of India. Charges laid were under the Arms Act, 1959, and the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
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