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Today is Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sailors! Be Aware Of Legalised Piracy

Not Applicable

Drugs were found clamped to the hull of Astro Saturn in October 2008 at Venezuela. The Master, Georgios Koutikas, and First Mate Athanasios Ntoustsias were arrested. Though the ship was released subsequently, the two are still in jail. They were found innocent by a lower court. However, later it was over ruled by a higher court. What smells of a high level conspiracy is that the people involved in the case, who found the crew innocent have “disappeared”, including Government officials.

Captain Chawla and Chief Officer Chetan of Hebei Spirit were sentenced following oil spill caused by out of control crane barge. The Master of ill fated tanker Prestige Captain Mangourtas was jailed for months, released on bail for 3 million Euros and European Human Right Court upholding the ruling.

We all are crying hoarse about piracy in Somalia, but are hardly talking about legalised piracy committed by the politicians to further their interest. They appear to be more dangerous for the seafarers and shipping than the Somalian pirates.

If it goes on like this, it would be extremely difficult for the seafarers to escape from a system that is bent upon calling you a convict. Grounds for conviction could be a torch battery or a polythene bag floating in the water next to your ship, never mind whether you threw them or not, the very fact they are next to ship, you are guilty.

The numbers of cases where the seafarers have been victims of political and judicial activism are on the rise. Friends do you have any suggestion how should you proceed to reverse the trend?

Or else:“100 years back mostly convicts were sailors; tomorrow most sailors will be labeled convicts.”

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