Chennai: Tamil Nadu police on Thursday defended their action of detaining the US ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio asserting there is prima facie case against them for illegally straying into Indian territorial waters.
The law of the land would apply to the detained crew and also the ship as it was impounded within the territorial waters of the country, police sources said here.
The sources said, "The ship was found straying at 10.48 nautical miles from the nearest Indian shore and 15 nautical miles from Tuticorin port, which is our territorial and historic waters and the law of the land very much prevails there. We have our jurisdiction there."
The police were coordinating with the Central agencies while dealing with the issue as the ship belonged to a private US firm, the sources said.
Confirming that the ship was in possession of 34 fire arms, they said that it didn`t have the necessary documents from Sierra Leone, where the vessel was registered.
Since prima facie the ship entered Indian waters without necessary documents and with arms, the case was registered and the Q branch police was inquiring the matter, sources said.
They also denied speculation that there was diplomatic interference in the case involving the US ship.
To a query on why the 35 persons on board the ship have not been arrested so far, they said since they were foreigners there was a certain procedure to be followed.