Anti-Piracy Vessel Investigated Over Suspected Weapons, Fuel Violations
Local media have reported that Indian maritime authorities suspect the seized Seaman Guard Ohio, an anti-piracy vessel whose crew includes 14 Estonians, of violating weapons and fuel laws.
The "heavily armed" ship was seized on Friday when it strayed into Indian waters, apparently to refuel and escape a typhoon, reported Chennai's The Hindu. But the ship's American operator AdvanFort allegedly did not have permission to enter Indian waters.
In addition to the Estonians, the ship also has six armed guards from the UK, four from India and one from Ukraine, according to the Maritime Bulletin. There are also another 10 crew members - eight Indians and two Ukrainians.
They have not been arrested, but "all 45 members" were named in the case opened by Indian authorities, said the Chennai paper. An investigator said the guards had the required documents to possess the weapons but authorities are still looking into whether the ship was authorized to be in Indian waters.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry confirmed yesterday that a preliminary investigation is under way and that the Estonians have not requested assistance from Estonian authorities.
Update: The Estonian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that there were 14 Estonian aboard the ship. It was previously reported, in accordance to what an Indian police spokesman had told ERR, that there were 16 Estonians.