Chennai: Thirty-five sailors of an American anti-piracy vessel, who were sentenced to five years in jail by a court in Tuticorin last year on charges of gunrunning, have been acquitted by the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court.
On October 12, 2013 the Indian Coast Guard had intercepted the vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by US company AdvanFort on Indian waters close to Tuticorin. The private security guards and crew including 6 Britons, 14 Estonians, three Ukrainians and 12 Indians were arrested.
They were charged with failing to have the proper paperwork to carry weapons in Indian waters.
The ship’s crew had claimed that the ship ran out of fuel. The prosecution, however, argued that the crew had arranged to buy 1500 litres of fuel via agents.