Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) counsel submitted that petitioners have been in touch with the Mission. They have also been provided with lodging and boarding facilities. Senior Advocate Harish Vaidyanathan, who had appeared for the MEA, assured that any kind of assistance would be provided.
MEA’s lawyer submitted that there had been serious charges, 800 kgs of Morphine had been recovered. Meanwhile, Gurinder Pal Singh, the advocated who had been appearing for the petitioners, submitted that they had not been provided with relevant documents.
The Court had earlier issued a notice to the MEA on behalf of families of five seafarers who were stranded in Iran. The direction was sought to provide both legal and counselling services to the seafarers and to secure their repatriation.
The family of seafarers had also sought direction from the Centre to take up the issue with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is expected to expedite the disposal by Iran’s Supreme Court.
Per the plea, petitioners belong to humble backgrounds. After completion of their marine courses, these seafarers had landed a job in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They had flown separately to the UAE but to their shock and contrary to what was placement agents had told them, they had been taken to Iran where they had to join a Cargo vessel named MV Artin 10. Onboard MV Artin 10, they were acting as seafarers performing menial assignments.
From 15 October 2019, the vessel sailed through ports like Al-Ruwais Port Qatar, Port Busher, and Bandar Abbas Iran. In these ports, the cargo was unloaded and loaded. The petition added that on 21 February 2020, when the vessel was in the Strait of Hormoz, Iranian authorities had raided it. They arrested the Captain alongside the seafarers, charging them of smuggling narcotics in the deep sea.
On 8 March 2021, the Trial Court in Chabahar, Iran had acquitted these seafarers. The following day, they had set their foot to freedom. Iranian authorities, however, had refused to hand over the passports and also their Continuous Discharge Certificates.
The long ordeal has taken a toll on the mental and physical health of these five seafarers.
Thanks also to mr puneet singh . Thanks to india embassy in tehran also , all we are doing support any indian seafarers in iran. 🇮🇳🤝🇮🇷 pic.twitter.com/gF1p9AKbE8
— S.S.T captain jahani (@seafarer0help) July 21, 2021