India Releases Crew of AdvanFort Security Ship on Bail

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

6 months after being detained (captured) by Indian authorities, maritime security contractors from the Seaman Guard Ohio have been released on bail according to a press release today from AdvanFort maritime security.

“The bail order exclude the vessel’s captain and the TDO,” notes AdvanFort and the conditions of their release are not yet available.

The arrest of the crew appears to have been largely unwarranted however.

In a conversation with former AdvanFort President Will Watson last year, he notes the vessel was directed into port by Indian authorities while beyond the 12 nautical mile territorial waters limit.  This was verified via AIS tracking.

As the ship approached shore, 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.

Regardless of the reasons for the detainment, AdvanFort’s founder Samir Farajallah has come under fire from all directions for failing to keep up with payments to those companies who were contracted to support him, his staff and the detained crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio.