Bail Denied for Detained Advanfort Crew in India

MV Seaman Guard Ohio
MV Seaman Guard Ohio, image: AdvanFort

India’s High Court has refused bail for the 35 crewmembers of a U.S. owned private security vessel that India says was carrying undocumented weapons and ammunition in its territorial waters.

BBC News reports that although no charges have been filed against the crew, under Indian law they should be charged or released within 90 days, and only two weeks remain of this period.

The MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which is owned by Virginia-based AdvanFort, was stopped by Indian authorities on October 11 and was being held in the southern port of Tuticorin along with its 10 crew and 25 armed security guards.

In a statement released by Advanfort Wednesday, the company called the High Court ruling “outrageous” and an “affront to the basic standards of justice”

“The mystifying investigation by Indian authorities has dragged on for two months already while AdvanFort’s seamen and maritime security contractors continue to languish in despicable and barbaric conditions at Indian prisons,” the statement read.

It continues: “Throughout their careers and this ordeal, these men have admirably adhered to the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity. AdvanFort thanks their loved ones for their patience and understanding as we now redouble our efforts in continuing to work around-the-clock, 24/7 to secure their release.”

The MV Seaman Guard Ohio was conducting anti-piracy in the region when it was detained.

The 35 crew are made up of British, Estonian, Indian and Ukrainian nationals.