Indian court sentences ship guards to five years in jail ({{commentsTotal}})

Ship guards from the Seaman Guard Ohio being held in India.
Ship guards from the Seaman Guard Ohio being held in India. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The Tuticorin court in India has sentenced Estonian anti-piracy guards to five years' imprisonment.

"According to our consul's information the ship guards were sentenced to five years in jail," spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Tallinn Mariann Sudakov told BNS on Monday.

"We're working to enable them to get home as soon as possible," Sudakov said and promised the ministry will forward more information during the day.

Police in India's southernmost state Tamil Nadu on Oct. 18, 2013 arrested 35 crew members and security personnel, including 14 Estonian guards, on board the anti-piracy vessel Seaman Guard Ohio. They were charged in December of the same year with illegal refueling, illegal handling of firearms and illegal entry into territorial waters, and released on bail in April 2014.

The high court of Tamil Nadu cleared all members of the crew and ship guards except for the captain of the charges in July of the same year but the Tamil Nadu police appealed the verdict in India's top court. The Supreme Court of India gave the Tamil Nadu court six months to handle the case when it referred it back to the Madurai-based court in June 2015.

It is not clear at this point whether the ruling of the Tuticorin court is final or whether it will be appealed.

Source: BNS