Thirty-five members of M.V. Seaman Guard Ohio crew have moved the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai seeking bail in a case registered by the Q Branch police.
Captain Dudinik Valentyn and 34 others, who sought bail, alleged in their petition that the anti-piracy vessel was “lured into the port by treachery” on October 12, 2013 and the claim of the authorities that the ship was intercepted was false. The ship was 19 nautical miles away from the Indian Coast, beyond the territorial jurisdiction of India, they said .
“The vessel was asked to come to the port and take shelter to escape from the cyclonic weather conditions in the Bay of Bengal.
On reaching the port, 25 officials from eight different agencies barged into the vessel, confined all the members and falsely claimed that the vessel was intercepted,” they claimed.
The vessel was “not involved in any activity prejudicial to the safety and security of the court” and based on the Doctrine of Innocent Passage as envisaged in Section 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, no charge could be levelled against the crew or the vessel for violating the rules and regulations of India, they contended.
The crew was denied bail by the Principal Sessions Judge, Tuticorin, on October 30, 2013.