Madurai: The crew of detained US ship, arrested on October 18 for illegally carrying arms and straying into Indian waters, have moved the Madras High Court seeking bail claiming they were "lured into Tuticorin port by treachery" and they were innocent.
In their bail plea yesterday, the crew of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, alleged "the vessel was asked to come to the port for taking shelter to escape from the cyclonic weather conditions in the Bay of Bengal. On reaching the port, as many 25 officials from eight different agencies barged into the vessel and confined all the 35 crew and falsely claimed as if they intercepted the vessel".
The matter will come up for hearing on Monday.
They said they were not involved in any activity prejudicial to the safety and security of the country and come under the doctrine of innocent passage as envisaged in Section 3 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea-1982 and hence no charge could be levelled against them or the vessel for violating the rules and regulations in India.
They said the ship was 19 nautical miles away from the Indian coast beyond its territorial jurisdiction.
Their bail application before the Principal district and Sessions court in Tuticorin was rejected on October 30.
The Q Branch CID police have seized 35 arms and about 5,680 rounds of ammunition from the vessel, which was impounded on October 12.
The 35 crew have also been accused of illegal purchase of diesel from local agents and booked under the Arms Act and Essential Commodities Act.
Twenty two foreign nationals among the crew are lodged in Chennai Puzhal Central prison while another from UK and 12 Indians are in Palayalamkottai Central Prison in Tirunelveli.