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Oct 21, 2013 at 08:54am IST

Indian action to arrest Seaman Guard Ohio's crew inappropriate: Ship owner

Washington: A US-based firm that owns the ship that has been detained off the coast of Tamil Nadu on Sunday termed the action as "inappropriate" and said it is working diplomatically and through the judicial system to prove the innocence of 35 detained crew members and get them released.

"Our vessel Seaman Guard OHIO has been detained in Tuticorin and 35 of our crew and guards are being held. We believe the entire issue is inappropriate, because we were asked to come into Indian territorial waters by the Indian Coast Guard, while we were outside the Indian territorial waters where we were operating, William H Watson, president of AdvanFort, told PTI.

Washington-based AdvanFort International is the firm that owns the ship - Seaman Guard Ohio -- which has been detained by authorities off the coast of Tamil Nadu for carrying heavy weapons and ammunition on board without clearance.

Indian action to arrest Seaman Guard Ohio's crew inappropriate: Ship owner

Seaman Guard Ohio has been detained by authorities off the coast of Tamil Nadu for carrying heavy weapons and ammunition on board without clearance.

"So we are taking counsel. We are working diplomatically and through the judicial system to get these people released," Watson said. "It (actions by Indian authorities) is inappropriate. The entire mission of our vessel is to safeguard commercial ship from piracy," he said adding that many of these people are themselves Indians.

"That's what we do. We protect the Indian seafarers," he noted. AdvanFort, he said, would represent its case before the Indian court on Tuesday.

"We would proclaim their innocence and try and arrange bail for them so that we can get them out pending the resolution of the inquiry. We are working both within the judicial system and the diplomatic channels to resolve this matter," he said in response to a question.

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