Seaman Guard Ohio, Chennai, India and the Law


If any vessel or anybody bring undeclared weapons/guns into the territorial waters of any country, that is illegal, or popularly known as “gun running”.

This vessel and other in the same business also visited Singapore. I’m sure they had enough knowledge of the laws in Singapore to declare the weapons before arrival, have them moved to safe storage at the Police Armory for the duration of their stay and redelivered to the vessel only on departure. (All with police escort)

This is standard procedure and anybody dumb enough not to comply could face the full force of the law for importing, or even being in possession of a weapon in Singapore, which is “death by hanging”,


Wrong, “gun running” requires intent to sell or trade the guns. While they possibly illegally possessed firearms they were definitely for personal use and not for sale or trade. This they were NOT gun running.


My country, my territorial waters, my economic zone, my navy, my coast guard, my rules and conventions as established by an assortment of global authorities are well said and done but priority and paramount is always my country. Innocent passage has multiple interpretations now. Get used to it in a rapidly changing world. If the erstwhile colonial powers including the US think that they can stop and detain ships in the middle of the ocean in parts of the world where they have no business to be and not be subjected to similar in return then they have another one coming.

Have a nice day and if you don’t like our laws then stay away.


None of that changes the definition of “gun running”…

So you think it’s ok to violate international waters? This line makes it sound like you don’t care if they actually did anything illegal, they had guns bear your territorial waters and so it’s ok to arrest them.

I’m unaware of this happening outside of multinational anti-piracy operations. Please provide evidence of your claims.


They do that with the permission of the flag state. If the ship is flying a false flag or is unregistered (stateless) then it is fair game, no permission needed.

The USCG didn’t seize the Seaman Guard Ohio and arrest its crew, India did. Sierra Leone (the flag state) did not give India permission to board it. How far offshore was the ship when it was seized? Even Indian reports at the time say it was 3 miles beyond the territorial limit, it was 15 miles offshore.

Just because you are pissed off at what the Brits did to India long before you or your grandfather were born doesn’t mean the Ohio incident is justifiable, moral, or served any purpose other than make people like you feel like India is something besides a 3rd world shithole.


ITF’s comments on the Seaman Guard Ohio appeal verdict:
ITF has been supporting the crew during their ordeal, while the company that hired them “run away”.


Believe me I am retired and really appreciate ever never having to visit India again. After I had completed the mountain of entry documents, made sure that I had sufficient cases of Scotch (obscure brand of paint stripper); and cartons of 555 cigarettes I used to steal myself for the onslaught. Successfully getting through the visits from the white and black gang of customs officials and other demands it was a sense of absolute relief to see the Indian coast astern.
My third world crew were absolutely shocked at the way they treated the disadvantaged.
Corrupt you better believe it.


in 1972 I spent 7 months trading AG to India on a tanker, mainly to Kandhla and Port Okha in the Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat State.

I quickly learnt that, Gujarat being a dry state, the officials liked to sit and enjoy their Johnny Walker Black Label as long as possible. They would always be able to find something wrong to drag out the time.

After a couple of trips I decided to invite the local main dignitaries in each of these ports on board for a meal, (incl. meat which is also banned in Gujarat) and more Black Label. Repeating this abt. every two months or so.
That worked to take their arrogance down a notch or two, but they still took their sweet time to grant free pratique.

Next step; I got the Carpenter to make a long table in the Owner’s Dining Saloon, with a bench that was a little bit too high, a little too narrow and sloping slightly away from the back rest. Generally made to be NOT comfortable.

A couple of chairs for the Agent and Sparks on the other side of the table and a VERY comfortable arm chair at the end of the table for yours truly completed the furnishing.
Nobody lasted more than an hour or so on the bench. The Indian fear of their bosses kept them from complaining too much.

Another thing that irritated me was the habit of taking one cigaret from the packets that the Captain’s Boy put out on the table, then sticking it in their pocket and ORDERING him to put out more.
I bough a nicely carved wooden box with several compartment at the Bazaar in Port Okha and had the Boy fill it with different brands of cigarettes (most State Express 555) and offer it around.
Not very popular, but their bosses and wives MAY be visiting that night, sooo.:zipper_mouth_face:

  1. So because you visited India 45 years ago, you are now and forever the resident expert on India, wonderful.
  2. Use a term like “boy” in the US today and see where it gets you please.
  3. Please don’t tell us about corruption unless you’ve been able to explain Wilmington, Delaware and tax havens.

The same Gujarat has some of the fastest turn-around deep-draught ports in the world now, paperless entry and departure, and as for corruption - well, ask around. Many shipping line with zero tolerance on corruption globally now have their ratings in the open domain, take a look - if you have the skillsets to do a simple search.

Criminalisation of seafarers is a global problem, as different from placing armed mercenaries in jail, so try and keep it there please. I ran a tech company out of the Valley for a decade, working for the gaming, financial and preventive defence industries of the world, and could write a book on the way corruption works in America too. But this is not the forum, I think.


You sure changed the subject in a hurry. The thread title, and the topic is India’s disgusting treatment of innocent seafarers which you steered into your bitterness about how India was treated by Europeans a century ago.

Get over it, you weren’t even there.


Look, I agree with you all that this situation sucks but what you advocate here is a ‘just following orders’ justification. Did you do your due dillagence or were you ‘fooled’ by your own complacently? If you suspect your employer might be doing bad things you are innocent because you stick your head in the sand?


Well once I discovered the true extent of the company’s safety violations I literally wrote a book about it… so, nope, I can’t say I was an ostrich on this one :wink:


I have been in India many times since 1972 (and before) My post was a followup to the one before and simply an anecdote about how it was then.

I have nothing against Indians in general. The working class, incl. the Dalits, are no problem, they have enough with trying to earn a living. But the attitude of mid-level officials and some of the middle class is enough to test anybodies patients.

Using the term Boy, (which was an official job title) is not derogatory, In fact Captain’s Boy was the second ranking in the catering department, after the Purser.

FYI; I’m not an American, but a Norwegian who spent most of my life in Asia.

You may feel entitled to question my skillset and I’m entitle to question your knowledge of Maritime affairs, incl. Maritime Law. 10 years in “the Valley” may have got you upset, but it has nothing to do with anything being discussed here.


Yeah @matescabin. How dare you lump this stalwart Norwegian in with the rest of us American trash who don’t know anything of other cultures past the Walmart parking lot. Or the Palo Alto Wholefoods for that matter.


Bangalore is known as the Technological Capital of India.
But there is another side of the coin as well:


Just make sure you don’t use the term “girl.”

I’m not sure what we are supposed to say nowadays, maybe something like “pre-woman.”