The Estonian Foreign Ministry reports that the Indian supreme court that was proceeding the case of 14 Estonian AdvanFort anti-piracy crew members marooned in India since October 2013, has closed for the summer without reaching a decision, leaving the men faced with further delays in returning home.
The Madurai court made a decision to return personal belongings to the men in April. These are scheduled to be returned on May 23 in Tuticorini, a port town where authorities confiscated firearms and ammunition from the Seaman Guard Ohio, a ship the men were working on as marine security personnel. The crew was arrested after the ship sought haven from a storm at the port. The arrested crew of 25 include 14 Estonians, along with Ukrainians and six British nationals.
The men were acquitted of all charges of arms violations in Indian sovereign waters by the supreme court in summer 2014, but nevertheless left unable to return home, as police appealed the decision. The case is now in front of the Madurai High Court.
Estonian MEPs have lobbied European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, to help speed along the return of the men from India, but although the case has moved along quickly by Indian standards, it is still not home when the seamen are finally free to leave India.
The court will reopen in two months time.
Editor: M. Oll