British government lobbied as Seaman Guard Ohio crew spend 1,000 days in jail

British government lobbied as Seaman Guard Ohio crew spend 1,000 days in jail

The Mission to Seafarers and families of the British guards of the anti-piracy vessel the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, who have been detained and imprisoned in India, have called for a parliamentary lobby and supporter rally to hand in a petition at Downing Street on July 7. This marks the day when the men will have been in detention for 1,000 days.

The families are calling for British MPs across all parties to unite to support the men and for the British people to write to their local MPs.

Yvonne MacHugh, partner of Billy Irving, issued a statement, via Change.org which said: “As you may or may not know the 7th of July marks 1000 days since the men were arrested. That is 1000 days too many that innocent men have had to have their lives torn apart and survive a living hell. Talking hasn’t worked, it’s time for action. The men cannot be left to rot for another 1000 days. They once fought for us as veterans, now we must fight for them.”

The parliamentary lobby will take place in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House from 10am to 11.30am. Families, supporting MPs and welfare charities will be speaking about the case. Families will also hand in a national petition to the prime minister at Downing Street. The petition has 351,212 supporters that have signed to pledge their support.

Fully 27 months since they were first detained in India the 35 men onboard US private security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio today were handed down five year hard labour jail sentences in January this year on charges of possessing arms without proper license and for not providing proper evidence of the ship’s anti-piracy operation.

The men were working for US firm AdvanFort, the owners of the ship, which was transiting Indian waters when apprehended in October 2013.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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