Advanfort Vessel and Crew Remain in Custody
The judicial magistrate in Tuticorin, C. Kathiravan, extended the custody of the AdvanFort-35 until March 14 after hearing arguments through video conferencing. The Advanfort-35 is the name dubbed to the 35 crew members who were captured by the Indian authorities in October of 2013. They were alleged to have entered Indian waters illegally with the AdvanFort vessel, the Seaman Guard Ohio. The company has since been working for the release of its ship and crew.
Despite the custody extension the company has expressed optimism about the situation. Acting President Al Farajallah said, "It is essential that we continue to stand up for AdvanFort-35 until they are liberated. Nevertheless, we’re enormously pleased – this really is a step in the right direction.”
Nearly 2,500 people worldwide have signed a petition expressing their support for the release of the prisoners. The company is still offering counter-piracy services, but has recently undergone a major internal restructure to improve its quality control, and to exhibit the level of commitment they have to ensuring that this incident does not repeat in the future.