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NEW DELHI, October 21 (Itar-Tass) - Controversy surrounding the arrest of the crew of the detained U.S. ship Seaman Guard Ohio took another turn on Monday with the vessel’s chief engineer reported as having tried to commit suicide in an Indian port.
The Ukrainian embassy in India is currently checking the report, embassy Second Secretary Roman Pyrih told Itar-Tass on Monday.
Ukrainian chief engineer Siderenko Valeriy is said to have tried to take his life by hanging himself from the flag mast but alert port security personnel foiled the bid and rushed him to hospital. He was declared fit after multiple rounds of medical checkups and was later taken to prison.
In earlier events, Indian police arrested the ship's crew on charges of illegally transporting weapons and ammunition in Indian waters. Eight seamen and 25 security guards, including Indians, British, Estonians and Ukrainians aboard, were held for 14 days after they failed to produce documents allowing them to carry arms. Two crew, the chief engineer and the captain, also from Ukraine, were not arrested and were allowed to stay on board to carry out maintenance work.
“The consular department of the Ukrainian embassy in India maintains contact with the police and the local authorities, seeking permission to visit the detained Ukrainian citizen and the others,” the embassy second secretary said.
The ship Seaman Guard Ohio is owned by a Virginia-based security company, AdvanFort, but is registered in Sierra Leone. It was detained on October 12 and is currently anchored in Tuticorin port, also known as Thoothukudi, in India's southern Tamil Nadu state. The ship's owner, AdvanFort, said the vessel was involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.