Families of the crewmen being held in India from the MV Seaman Guard Ohio anti-piracy vessel have today announced that the British lawyers representing the men were dismissed late last night ahead of the bail hearing scheduled on Thursday this week.
The Mission to Seafarers, global maritime charity, which is supporting the seafarers, is now in touch with the Indian legal team and are trying to get clarity around what this might mean for the men.
The families of the men have further announced today that they have decided to launch a fighting fund to help support their loved ones in prison. The Mission to Seafarers is going to help manage and supervise the fundraising campaign, via the JustGiving website.
Yvonne MacHugh, partner of Billy Irving said: “The families are devastated that we have lost the advice of Ince Law, one of the most prestigious marine law companies in the world, to help us. We are trying to find out what has happened today. The bail hearing is set for Thursday or Friday this week, and we are hoping that the men will still be freed, but we are now very aware that the legal team is much reduced. There are still lawyers working in India on the case, so we just have to hope that this will not affect the outcome this week.”
Andrew Wright, Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers, said: “These men have now been held for over five months and these issues need urgent resolution. We have set up a mechanism to enable families to fundraise in support of the imprisoned men.
The MtS has been closely involved with both the crew and their families throughout this long ordeal and we will continue to do all that we can in support. Any donation made to the fund will be used in direct aid to the imprisoned crew across a range of areas, including adequate medical provision, food and water, clothing and counselling. Other needs may become urgent as matters progress. Any funds raised over and above what is needed in India will be used to further the welfare work of Mission to Seafarers across the world.”
Maritime Security News Note:
Well, this is an awful turn for the worse for everyone concerned. Why was Ince & Co “dismissed”? Presumably, the decision was made by AdvanFort management, but one has to wonder why, given the fact that the bail hearing is so close (Thursday).