Maritime charities appeal to speed up release of detained crew members


Seaman GuardTwo charities are appealing to help speed up the return of six crew, who have been in India since the detention of the anti-piracy patrol vessel Seaman Guard Ohio in October 2013.
The men, all former soldiers from the UK, are still in the country since their initial arrest 509 days ago, despite Justice Prakash at Madras High Court dismissing criminal charges filed against the crew and armed guards of the vessel under the Arms Act, last July.
Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) and The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) have appealed to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps to speed up the legal process. The men, who were firstly held in prison then subsequently bailed, are said to now just be waiting for their passports to be returned so they can travel home to the UK.
Human rights barrister and founder of HRAS, David Hammond, said: “Human Rights at Sea remains very concerned at some of the constabulary and judicial actions in the handling of the case, and of the continued detaining of the crew following charges being quashed by the Madras High Court on 10 July 2014.
“Human Rights at Sea urges the Indian authorities to bring this case to a swift conclusion in line with Indian law and applicable intentional Human Rights conventions and for the crew to be repatriated to respective home states without delay.”
The Mission to Seafarers has also been helping by working with families of the UK crew members as well as those of 14 Estonian and 12 Indian seafarers.