On 20th July 2021, the Delhi High Court’s Justice Rekha Palli issued notice on a plea moved by the families of five seafarers stranded in Iran even after their acquittal by the Trial Court of Iran in an alleged case of conspiracy. The plea has sought help from the Centre to secure the repatriation of the Indian seafarers and take up the issue with the Iran government.
The plea has also sought urgent relief from the Centre by issuing directions concerning sufficient medical and financial assistance, boarding and lodging, and other necessary consular services to the seafarers till they are repatriated back to India.
The five seafarers have assured a job in the United Arab Emirates after the completion of their marine course. The seafarers were flown to UAE with an assurance that they will be given a job but on the contrary, they were taken to Iran where they were made to join a Cargo vessel MV Artin 10 as Seafarers where they performed only menial duties.
On 20th February 2020, a raid was conducted on the vessel by Iranian authorities while the vessel was in the deep sea at the Strait of Hormoz. The five Seafarers and their Captain were arrested by the Iranian authorities under the charge of conspiracy to smuggle narcotics in the deep sea. Later, the owner of the ship was arrested by the local Iranian authorities. The Seafarers were in custody at Chabahar Jail for almost 403 days and were deprived of necessary legal assistance.
The Trial Court in Iran acquitted the five Seafarers on 8th March 2021. However, the authorities in Iran refrained from giving their passport and continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC). Later on, Seafarers were informed that the matter has been transferred to the Supreme Court of Iran.
The Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking their response in the matter. A further hearing is listed on 27th July 2021.