MV Seaman Guard Ohio, image: AdvanFort
In protest against the Indian government’s detainment of 33 sailors from the AdvanFort-chartered maritime security vessel Seaman Guard OHIO, the Sierra Leone ship registry has filed an official complaint today.
The complaint, posted below, protests the illegal detainment of the ship’s crew after it was allegedly lured into India’s territorial waters by Indian authorities last week. A document from the Tamil Nadu Police notes that the vessel was upwards of 19 miles from the coast of India when it was contacted by Indian authorities.
According to a letter by the Maritime Registrar’s office, Sierra Leone’s complaint focuses on four separate ICG actions against the MV OHIO, “which legally operates under the flag of our Nation.”
The violations listed came under PART VIl, ARTICLE 87 of lnternational Convention of the Law of the Sea.
The ICG is accused of “illegally lur(ing the) OHIO, which was operating in international waters, into lndian territorial waters and then did illegally board and search the vessel and then did detain and arrest the crew without the consent of the Government of Sierra Leone, and prevented the vessel’s freedom of navigation.”
The letter noted that: “Prior to being lured into lndian waters, the OHIO was serving as a floating accommodation platform for Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) team members between transits aboard client vessels of the AdvanFort Company (a Private Maritime Security Company based in the United States).”
Therefore, it concluded, the “Sierra Leone lnternational Ship Registry requests the immediate release of the of Master, Officers & and Crew of the SEAMAN GUARO OHIO in order to allow the vessel to continue on its voyage and freely navigate international waters in accordance with international law status.”
AdvanFort strongly denies assertions that the Seaman Guard OHIO illegally carried arms and ammunition, as well as had purchased 1,500 litres of diesel “illegally” with the help of a local shipping agent.
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