News and updates

17 CHARGED WITH PIRACY IN KENYA AFTER US NAVY HANDOVER

June 12, 2009

Seventeen Somali men detained at sea and handed over to Kenyan authorities on Wednesday have been charged with piracy by prosecutors. The men, the largest single group seized at sea, were arrested as they attacked the Egyptian-flagged Amira last month. The cache of weapons taken when the men were overpowered by US Marines were handed to prosectors as evidence.

 

There are 101 suspected pirates being held awaiting trial in Kenya, with 10 already convicted and serving jail terms, and courts in Mombasa are now so congested with piracy cases that future prosecutions will take place in Malindi instead.

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?HEBEI TWO? FREED

June 12, 2009

The master and chief officer of the tanker Hebei Spirit have been freed following the widely expected ruling from South Korea?s Appeal Court that the men were not guilty of the charge of vessel destruction. The two Indian officers have been kept in South Korea for the past eighteen months, some of it in prison. However, the lesser charge of causing pollution was not overturned despite massive pressure from the shipping industry to see the men fully exonerated.

 

ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: ?We are pleased – everyone is pleased – to see these men?s innocence upheld. But, like everyone in shipping, we find it unacceptable that the lesser charge against them was never removed. We commend them for their bravery these last 18 months, congratulate V Ships for standing by them so effectively, and join everyone who has struggled to get them set free in expressing relief at their imminent return home. We cannot however excuse the unfair criminalisation that they have undergone and the contradictory nature of the dual verdicts.?

 

The ship?s operator V.Ships described the whole case as ?a gross miscarriage of justice? said it was determined to continue to work towards having the pollution charges wiped from the records of the two officers.

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