Update: The Seaman Guard Ohio’s Chief Engineer, not the ship’s captain, attempted suicide.

Earlier report (with further updates)

Indian media is reporting this morning that the captain of the maritime security vessel, Seaman Guard Ohio, which has been detained by Indian authorities,  attempted to hang himself in his stateroom.  He was saved by his crew before he was able to carry out his plan.

Captain Dudnik Valentyn has been through a lot.  In 2011, he and his crew aboard the MV Bilda spent 11 months under the watchful eye of Somali pirates after their vessel was hijacked on New Years day.  This latest personal tragedy once again puts himself in a situation that he may feel hopeless to fix and perhaps quite unjustified.

The below graphics via Windward Maritime Analytics Services Company depict the track of the Seaman Guard Ohio before it was detained by Indian authorities.

seaman guard ohio ais

seaman guard ohio ais

Analysts at Windward point out that for the past month, the Seaman Guard Ohio has bee conducting patrols approximately 50 to 60 nautical miles south of India for the past month.

On the 9th of October, the vessel started to head toward shore and anchored near Tuticorin Port (Tamil Nadu state), where it had previously anchored a month ago, before leaving to its last patrol activity. It anchored 13 nautical miles offshore, just outside India’s territorial waters.

On the 12th of October, the Seaman Guard Ohio began sailing towards the port.

AdvanFort president Will Watson commented in a recent phone conversation that the vessel was directed into port while the vessel was beyond the 12 nautical mile territorial waters limit.  He notes that the hard turn to port in the second image above indicates the turn made when Indian authorities called the Seaman Guard Ohio on the radio requesting them to come in to port due to bad weather from Cyclone Phailin.

When the ship came closer, Indian authorities then arrested the entire crew, claiming they had violated Indian territorial waters.  Watson notes that India has claimed that a pair of islands off the coast extends the territorial waters of India and that the Seaman Guard Ohio was thus inside the 12 nautical mile limit when it was detained.  AdvanFort’s legal council disagrees with India’s claims, noting that these uninhabited “sandbars” do not extend India’s territorial waters and that their territorial waters should be measured from the shoreline of India.

At face value, it seems like India may be trying to avoid getting egg on their face by insisting that the ship was inside territorial waters when it was detained.

Is this a legitimate claim by the Indian government or state-sponsored piracy?  Regardless, this is truly a sad situation for the seafarers on the Seaman Guard Ohio, and an industry as a whole, who’s mission is to protect the very people that are now being held.

The entire crew is currently being held in an Indian jail, with the exception of one individual who is in the hospital.  AdvanFort is currently reaching out via all diplomatic channels to try and resolve this issue.

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  • Media watch

    And here come gCaptain to their defence again, would never have guessed it.

  • Suzan Andrews

    This is piracy… If the vessel was indeed in the international waters and the Indians have fooled the master to come in due to the Typhoon as clariffied to me by one of AdvanFort staff its ‘Entrapment’ which is illegal. I hope the IMO will step up and stop this madness
    They are protecting seafarers which include Indians for god sake!!

    • Chandrashekar

      It is disgusting to have this update. Why should the crew get arrested? It is an issue between the owners of the vessel and the port state. They can arrest the vessel till the issue is resolved. At the most they can arrest the master as he is the representative of the owners and it is his decision to enter in to Indian waters with out declaring arms on board. It does not make any sense to arrest the entire crew. They are not responsible for the declaration.
      As per the news reports this vessel was providing “Anti piracy” services in international waters and was carrying arms. There is nothing wrong with this.
      Even if it got drifted in to Indian waters intentionally or otherwise…it should not be treated like a pirate vessel.
      Let the owners be held accountable for what ever blunder they have committed and the innocent crew must be released immediately.
      It appears there is no human rights for the Seafarers who sacrifice so much for the sake of the world trade.

  • Leonardo U. Ng Sang

    this is total madness,I have been in indian ports
    and authorities seem to be the terrorist.

  • http://asiastudies.org rsvasan

    Honestly am not sure where to start. Have been writing on different groups about the responses. So Advan Fort continues to make a case where none exists. First it says the ship went to Tuticorin to avoid the storm which was 2000 kilometers away! Then they die up clandestinely to purchase Diesel through an agent in Indian waters thus violating national laws. Then they have arms and ammunition with out papers. Apparently there is plenty of questions being raised about the ownership and the mal practices in USA. This may be an American owned ship,but flagged in Sierra Leone.. So where are the papers from the flag state allowing this vessel to act as a floating armoury? Some have said that these people are there to combat piracy… surely they are not doing this for charity. There was opportunity for business and they are there .. What else explains over 300 such companies involved in the business of providing security to ships.. His location was not in the HRA. The ship according to the police was at 10.48 nms when transfering illegal diesel through some agent in Dubai. After Mumbai terror attacks, India has shored up its coastal security and has every right to look at such vessels and defend itself. The vessel apparently has been banned by Sri Lanka in 2012. Why?? Is it a fact that the company has not been allowed to procure arms in US for this purpose and therefore is buying arms across the counter and using them ? Not everything is clear about the nature of transactions of this vessel. Remember there are many Indian crew and armed guards and while all of us can be sympathetic to their plight, one has to get to the bottom of this.. The Voice Data Recorder will give the sequence of events if it is not tampered with

    • http://www.gov.in Steven Foster

      All you do vasan is make the illegal case for the organization that owned you for 34 years, you should just shut up or state you are a retired Indian Coast Guard terrorist before you act like some intellectual as opposed to the pirate you are.

  • Dubby49

    John AC Cartner has very good credentials, but his article quoted by Martin Edward Andersen is as full of supposition and innuendo without bothering to look at the facts as the media he decries

    Take for example the following statements :

    Fuel was running low – Ships engaged on legal activities arrange port visits through authorised agents and following established protocol. They don’t arrange clandestine fuel supply offshore. The coast state has authority to enforce its customs, fiscal, sanitary etc regulations in the contiguous zone.

    A typhoon was in the same ocean. – Coming from a master mariner this statement is a joke. The Cyclone was a thousand miles to the North. Perhaps ships off Durban (also in the same ocean) should have entered port as a safety measure. Normally ships try to get as far as possible to sea when a cyclone is approaching instead of entering a port (unless it is extremely well sheltered and Tuticorin is not).

    The master, with almost plenary discretion in matters of vessel safety and navigation, decided to enter for fuel and provisions – Maybe. he certainly didn’t inform anyone about his intention or make any arrangements or submit the required PAN (Pre Arrival Notice). The ship had visited Kochi earlier, so the Master cannot claim he was ignorant of Indian port entry procedures.

    The comments that the action by the authorities is because backhanders were not received are libellous.

  • http://none research Odigo

    What is very sad, is that small wooden boats loaded to the rim with assylum seekers – usually headed to Yemen(?) are normally shot to hell – the Russian guys even laughed about is as they were firing away.
    One poor soul who managed to jump ‘ship’, his head bobbing in the ocean had his head blasted off.
    I know their is piracy – why don’t Captains and shipping company owners get their shit together, and have two or more ships ‘carpool’?
    This is what they do in the gulf of Sinai, they all line up – safety in numbers.
    But I digress – a small boat, with only the pilot’s area shaded from the sun, filled to the capsizing point with dozens of brown-skinned people could not possibly be a pirate ship – no way.
    Man’s Inhumanity to Man.

  • http://admiraltylawkochi.blogspot.in/ syam Kumar vm

    “FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION” AND THE SEIZURE OF SEA MAN GUARD OHIO.
    http://admiraltylawkochi.blogspot.in/2013/10/freedom-of-navigation.html