Heroin Abuse Linked to Deaths of Maersk Line Security Contractors

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The Seychelles Police released the autopsy report today on the two American security contractors who died aboard the containership Maersk Alabama last week, concluding that the cause of death was “respiratory failure, with suspicion of myocardial infarction (heart attack),” according to the report.

The Police preliminary investigation report includes suspicion of drug use indicated by the presence of a syringe and traces of heroin which were found in the cabin, the report said.

Seychelles authorities are sending samples of urine, blood, stomach contents from the two men to Mauritius for further analysis to establish if they had consumed a “substance” which may have induced these events.

The bodies of the two men, who were contracted to conduct anti-piracy security by the U.S.-based firm, Trident Group, were found in a cabin of the vessel on Tuesday at about 4:30 p.m. on 18 February while the ship was docked at Port Victoria, Seychelles.

Maersk Line, Limited, which operates the vessel, revealed last week that the Seychelles Police had confirmed the presence of drugs and drug paraphernalia, presumably heroin and syringes, in the cabin where the men were found.

MLL said it regularly contracts vessel security services to Trident Group in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard security directives, and the company has stated that based on their experience with the contractor that they believe that this was an isolated incident.

A statement posted to Trident Group’s website said the company continues to monitor the situation, but that “assumptions” being reported in the media are baseless and have been devastating to the victim’s families. An earlier emailed statement issued last Wednesday from Trident Group President, Tom Rothrauff, noted that “There is no history of any abuse of any type of substance associated with either of the men.”

The two men have been identified as Mark Kennedy and Jeffrey Reynolds, 43 and 44, respectively. According to an Associated Press report, Kennedy is an ex-Navy SEAL from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who enlisted in 1995 and completed his final tour of duty in 2008.

Arrangements are underway for the repatriation of the men, according to the Seychelles Police Force.