Security forces in a southern Indian port city have detained the crew of a US-owned vessel on charges of illegal transportation of weapons and ammunition.
Eight crew members, as well as 25 security guards from India,
Britain, Estonia and Ukraine on board were arrested after they
failed to provide documents to the local police authorizing them
to carry weapons, according to a statement by the Indian Foreign
Minister, Sujata Singh.
Two of the crew members were allowed to stay on board to conduct
Security forces impounded 35 automatic weapons and nearly 5,700
rounds of ammunition that were found on board the ship.
The charges brought against the crew members and security guards
are the following: illegal possession of weapons and ammunition,
as well as entering India's territorial waters without
“The crew and security guards are cooperating with the
investigators,” the Foreign Minister indicated to AP. She
also said that the information has already been shared with the
US embassy in New Delhi.
The American embassy said that they had no comment on the
The ship’s captain, in his turn, told police that his company
provided armed escorts for merchant vessels going about their
business in the Indian Ocean, which is notorious for the many
pirates in its waters.
The company that owns the vessel, US security company AdvanFort,
stated that the ship would never have entered Indian waters, if
the coast guard hadn’t approached them and asked them to follow
him into the port.
The vessel was detained on October 12, but the news was only
revealed by the Indian authorities on Friday.
Last week, a Venezuelan navy frigate detained an oil survey ship
in waters contested by Venezuela and Guyana. The ship, used by
the Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp on approval by Guyuna,
was on disputed Atlantic territory west of Essequibo River.