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TV documentary highlights Seaman Guard Ohio crew plight, verdict set for 1 Oct

TV documentary highlights Seaman Guard Ohio crew plight, verdict set for 1 Oct
A BBC documentary to be broadcast on Monday evening highlights the plight of the crew of Advanfort's Seaman Guard Ohio held in India for nearly two years, as they await their fate at the hands of the Indian courts.

Seatrade Maritime News has been tracking the story and effort of the crew of 35 to clear their names. The BBC documentary focuses on six British ex-servicemen who were employed as private armed security personnel by Advanfort as part of the crew of 35.

As the documentary is screened the crew could finally learn their fate by the beginning of October. The Facebook campaign page “Free Paul Towers” - Paul Towers is one of the accused ex-Bristish servicemen - said that a trial is set to begin 14 September, while is reported a verdict date of 1 October is expected. Accused of gun-running and illegal bunkering in Indian waters, the men could spend up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The documentary accuses Advanfort of abandoning their men. The company has allegedly declined to pay any of the men’s legal expenses, and wages of GBP3,000 ($4,577) a month have not been paid since the men were detained in October 2013. A recent hotel bill of GBP12,000 was also left unpaid.

"The men have been unpaid in all of this time," said Ken Peters, director of justice and public affairs at the Mission to Seafarers. "We had to help them with subsistence and accommodation costs."We had looked to the American company to really stand by their employees which unfortunately they haven't done."

The documentary Inside Out North East and Cumbria is broadcast on BBC One at 19:30 BST on Monday 7 September and nationwide in the UK on the iPlayer for 30 days thereafter.