THOOTHUKUDI: Thoothukudi Principal Sessions Court, on Monday, sentenced 35 members of American private security ship, Seaman Guard Ohio for five years rigorous imprisonment and imposed fine of Rs 3,000 each.
As soon as the day began, Judge Rajasekar announced conviction and obtained the views of all the 35 crew members individually. Following that, he pronounced the judgment convicting them on charges of possessing arms without proper license and for not providing proper evidence for the anti-piracy operation.
He sentenced them for five years rigorous imprisonment under Arms Act and fined them Rs 3,000 each. The total fine amount for the entire crew was Rs 1,05,000. However the crew had been acquitted from Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel (Regulation of Supply and Distribution and Prevention of Malpractices) Order-2005.
Similarly eight accused in the case, all from Tamil Nadu, who were charged for supplying diesel for the ship were also acquitted from the case citing lack of evidence. However the lawyers of the convicted crew members claimed that they would appeal at the High Court as early as possible.
It is worth remembering that 35 members on board Seaman Guard Ohio were intercepted by Indian Coast Guard on October 10, 2013, near Thoothukudi Coast for entering Indian waters without proper permission and possessing Arms. The case was later shifted to Q branch Police.
Apart from Indians the crew members also belonged to UK, Ukraine and Estonia.