In relation to a press statement made by the private maritime security company Advanfort, The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) strongly refutes any suggestion of inactivity regarding efforts to free the Advanfort personnel held in India.
On the contrary, the Association states that it has been extremely supportive of the company through its previous President, Will Watson, while liaising with the Mission to Seafarers to ensure they have been kept abreast of all relevant and pertinent information. In addition, during the ongoing case, SAMI has been in frequent and regular contact with the legal team working on behalf of the company – prior to their dismissal last month.
According to SAMI while such an attack is disappointing, it is perhaps not wholly unexpected. The situation, as all but two of the seafarers and guards are currently free on bail, has been building to a climax and this aggressive, unfounded stance is perhaps an inevitable consequence. SAMI CEO, Peter Cook says, “We stand by the approach SAMI has adopted, it has been through necessity that we have focused on ensuring that no action taken by the Association would impact the individuals involved. The episode thus far has been complex, legally challenging and fraught with difficulties. To have the Association’s conduct called into question is surprising, but we know how hard we have worked to support the guards in question, and are confident that all suggestions made by the company are without basis.”
Cook, continued – “We will continue to back all necessary steps taken by the Mission to Seafarers to ensure the crew of the vessel are afforded the support, advice and protection necessary”.
Indeed, reflecting these efforts and focus, earlier this week the Association launched a new campaign calling for the end of criminalisation of maritime security operatives. http://www.seasecurity.org/mediacentre/sami-slams-criminalisation-of-maritime-security-operatives/
– See more at: http://www.seasecurity.org/mediacentre/sami-responds-over-guards-crisis/#sthash.eYf1Uzk9.dpuf