News / Asia

    India Arrests Crew of US-Owned Anti-Piracy Ship

    Image made from video shows U.S.-owned ship MV Seaman Ohio detained at the Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu, India. Indian police said they are questioning the crew of the ship accused of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition in Indian waters, Oct. 13
    Image made from video shows U.S.-owned ship MV Seaman Ohio detained at the Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu, India. Indian police said they are questioning the crew of the ship accused of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition in Indian waters, Oct. 13
    VOA News
    Indian police have arrested at least 33 crew members of a detained U.S.-owned anti-piracy ship for carrying weapons in Indian waters without proper permits.

    The crew was arrested Friday in the southern port of Tuticorin.

    Indian Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh said the crew was arrested after failing to produce documents allowing them to carry the weapons.

    "The vessel was stopped by our coast guard in consideration of issues relating to the presence of arms, ammunition, and armed guards on board without the necessary authorization.  The crew and guards are currently cooperating with the police investigations that are ongoing in Tamil Nadu [state].  Cases have been filed with regards to the Arms Act and the Essential Commodities Act Basic information on this case has been shared in routine course with U.S. Embassy representatives," said Singh.

    The Sierra Leone-flagged ship, Seaman Guard Ohio, was escorted to Tuticorin last week with a crew of British, Estonian, Indian and Ukrainian nationals.  It belongs to AdvanFort, a U.S.-based maritime security firm.

    AdvanFort President William Watson told VOA the arms and ammunition on board were licensed and meant for anti-piracy missions in the eastern Indian Ocean.  He said as soon as the ship was stopped, its captain produced documents showing the weapons were properly licensed.

    Watson also said the Seaman Guard Ohio was operating outside Indian territorial waters (12 nautical miles, 13.8 statute miles, 22.2 kilometers)  when it was detained.  He said, however, it moved closer than normal to India's shore because of the treacherous waters caused by Cyclone Phailin.

    “It was outside the 12-mile limit.  Now in some cases India seeks to project its authority throughout its exclusive economic zone which of course goes out much further than the 12-mile limit.  I’m not a maritime or admiralty attorney, but my understanding is that seizing a vessel outside the 12-mile limit is inappropriate," said Watson.

    An Indian defense and strategic affairs analyst, Bharat Verma, said the coast guard would not have detained the ship if it were outside Indian waters.

    "If the ship is within our waters of 12 nautical miles and without permission, then to arrest the ship's crew and capture the ship is absolutely legitimate.  Now the coast guard which escorted the ship to the shore, knows this law.  So it appears that the ship was inside the waters," said Verma.

    Watson said at the time it was stopped, the Seaman Guard Ohio was being refueled by another vessel in international waters.  He called that fuel purchase "lawful and legal."

    "The Indian coast guard came out and asked us to come in to port because apparently they were conducting an investigation of fuel transfer issues, and when we went into port of course because we had the weapons on board they sought to audit those weapons.  Our understanding from the authority team that came on board was that they found all of our papers to be in order," he said.

    In a statement Friday, AdvanFort played down the ship's seizure.  The company instead thanked Indian authorities for allowing the Seaman Guard Ohio to refuel and escape Phailin, India's strongest cyclone in 14 years.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: rob from: at sea-indian ocean bound
    October 23, 2013 8:40 AM
    India is a logistics and paperwork nightmare. I sailed out of an Indian port for 4 months aboard a U. S.Navy owned research vessel. bribes and mountains of paperwork were the norm-had to make work for the rubber stamp man. All the ports we use to visit in the Indian Ocean are now pirate waters. I would rather have these guys escorting us through dangerous waters rather than having to rely on fire hoses against pirates with ak47 and rpg.

    by: t subaskaran from: india
    October 21, 2013 7:56 PM
    Any way , when the weapons are on board the government should explore it s legality. The reagon should be free of terrorism. The advant fort having bad track records on in properly and illegally business in the same industry with arms for the sake of money. This causing severe threat to regional and global security.

    by: Jay from: Mohan
    October 19, 2013 3:24 AM
    Source (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/sea-mercs-gun-laws/)As it turns out, the ship-protection biz is rife with risk, of the diplomatic and AK-47-wielding variety. Carrying guns aboard commercial ships has the potential to cause all kinds of legal problems.British sea-merc company Protection Vessels International found this out the hard way in December, when four of its guards stopped for fuel in Eritrea while sailing to a scheduled ship-protection gig off Somalia. Eritrean officials detained all four men and accused them of plotting “acts of terrorism and sabotage” against the impoverished nation.They are lucky they stopped for fuel in Eritrea, instead of the US, because if they stopped in the US they would be in Federal prison for nearly a decade and there would be nothing their employer could do about it.I wonder how they even possess these weapons for training or storage in the UK, or if they store them in some other country.

    by: Filldaddy from: Texas
    October 18, 2013 1:55 PM
    Ahhh. First rule to Indian paperwork is to have dead leaders and security features printed on the "paperwork" for govt agents. Preferably in high denominations, multiple copies of this imprinted paper yield additional ease in passing inspections.

    I guess the captain and crew didn't pay off the right people or produce enough "paperwork" to satisfy the "coast guard's" needs.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.