India to Hold Estonian Ship Guards for at Least 2 More Weeks
Fourteen Estonian citizens are still in legal limbo in India after the ship they were working on was detained in sovereign waters for arms violations more than a month ago.
An Indian court in Tamil Nadu state decided Wednesday to extend the pretrial detainment of the 14 anti-piracy personnel for a third time - now until December 10 - Margus Särglepp, Estonian consul in India, said on uudised.err.ee
There were 25 guards in all on the ship, the Seaman Guard Ohio, detained on October 18. The others were Ukrainian and UK citizens. They were working for the US-based company Advanfort.
Indian authorities suspect the crew of illegal fuel trading and say they lacked documents for the weapons on board.
A number of the Estonians are former members of the Defense Forces with mission experience, who were drawn by the prospect of higher salaries at Advanfort.
The Defense Forces veterans are Renee Tõnissaar, Lauri Ader, Denis Suhhanov, Roman Obeltšak, Kristo Koha and Aivar Jõgiste.
The others are Igor Blinkov, Vladislav Korsunov, Alvar Hunt, Igor Totrov, Aleksei Tutonin, Dmitri Pappel, and Andrei Gortšagov and Raigo Kustman.
Two have been in the news before: Kustman's appearance in the press came in 1994 over a drunken incident where, as a member of a rifle company during the chaotic transition to civilian control, he shot a Latvian in the stomach, said weekly Eesti Ekspress. Jõgiste is also a veteran, but was more recently a person of interest in a dodgy car import scheme where people paid up front but did not necessarily get their vehicles, Delfi reported.