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22 Sailors Of US Ship Caught With Weapons Being Shifted To Chennai’s Puzhal Prison

CHENNAI – Twenty two of the 35 foreignsailors on a US ship, who werelodged in the Palayamkottai prison inTirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, arebeing shifted to the Puzhal prison inChennai for “security reasons”.A senior prison official said, “Whenevera foreign national is arrested in connectionwith any case, he or she will be shiftedto the Chennai prison. This is alsodue to some security reasons. There arefive British sailors, three Ukraine nationalsand 14 Estonian nationals. They arebeing shifted from the Palayamkottaiprison to the Puzhal prison.”State prisons department officials andthe 22 foreign sailors boarded two busesand left the Palayamkottai prison at8.30am. Police personnel fromTirunelveli were providing escort to thebuses. They are expected to reachChennai by 10pm. “It is an internal procedureand there is no need to get thepermission from the court concerned.”The Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by UScompany AdvanFort and carrying theSierra Leone flag, was spotted 15 nauticalmiles off Tuticorin on October 12 bythe Indian Coast Guard (CG) officials.Based on the complaint of the CG assistantcommandant, the Coastal SecurityGroup-CID slapped a case against theship’s captain, nine other crew membersand 25 security personnel.A preliminary inquiry by the CoastGuard revealed that the vessel was illegallycarrying weapons. Police seized 35weapons and 5,680 rounds of ammunitionfrom the vessel.The case was subsequently transferredto the Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ branch CID. The’Q’ branch officials initially arrested 33sailors, including the security personnel,on October 17, leaving behindSiderenko Valeriy, the chief engineer ofthe ship, and Dudnik Valentyn, the ship’scaptain. However, they were arrested thefollowing day after Valeriy allegedlyattempted suicide on the ship, docked atthe VO Chidambaranar Port.

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