Crew of US ship arrested for carrying arms illegally into Indian waters

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Tuticorin, Fri Oct 18:  Thirty-three crew members of a US firm owned ship were on Friday arrested by Tamil Nadu Police on charges of illegally carrying arms and ammunition and straying into Indian territorial waters without authorisation.

The Q Branch CID police have seized 35 arms and about 5,680 rounds of ammunition from the vessel ‘M V Seaman Guard Ohio’, which has been impounded since October 12.

Thirty-three out of the 35 members on board the vessel were taken to Muthiahpuram Police Station this morning and questioned after which police completed legal formalities to effect their formal arrest.

An official statement issued by police headquarters in Chennai stated a case for offences under Arms Act 1959, Essential Commodities Act 1955 and Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel Prevention of malpractices in supply and distribution order 1990 has been registered against the crew.

The investigation by the ¿Q¿ Branch police of the state’s specialised wing in the last two days has revealed that the vessel was found in the country’s territorial waters and was in possession of a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, without valid authorisation of documents, police said.

Police said the two crew members have been permitted to stay on board the vessel to carry out maintenance of the ship till further arrangements were made and they would also be arrested.

The Q Branch CID police have seized 35 arms and about 5,680 rounds of ammunition from the vessel, which was detained off Tuticorin coast on October 12.

Tamil Nadu Police registered an FIR against the crew members on October 14.

The crew face allegations of procuring 1,500 litres of diesel through illegal route, are likely to be brought to Chennai.

Police said the case was registered in Tharuvaikulam Marine Police station on October 13 on the complaint by Assistant Commandant, Indian Coast Guard, Tuticorin.

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