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American Shipper

INDIAN COURT JAILS INDONESIAN HIJACKERS OF JAPANESE SHIP

INDIAN COURT JAILS INDONESIAN HIJACKERS OF JAPANESE SHIP

   An Indian court on Tuesday (Feb. 25) sentenced 14 Indonesian pirates to seven years’ imprisonment each for hijacking the Japanese-owned vessel “Alondra Rainbow” off the coast of Indonesia in October 1999.

   The International Maritime Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce called the ruling a breakthrough in the fight against pirates. The bureau had helped the Indian coast guard track down and detain the ship.

   The pirates were charged with setting the “Alondra Rainbow”‘s 17 crew members adrift on a raft, trying to scuttle the ship, attempting to set it on fire and committing armed robbery.

   The Indian court action was undertaken under Article 105 of the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS).

   “The court’s decision marks a rare move by a national court to assume jurisdiction over a crime committed in international waters,” the International Chamber of Commerce said.

   Captain Pottengal Mukundan, director of the Paris-based body’s International Maritime Bureau, believes that the decision sets a precedent which will help deter copycat crimes of piracy.

   “We are delighted that India took the difficult decision to assume jurisdiction and are very pleased with the outcome,” Mukundan said.

   The court decision came on the same day a chemical tanker was shot at by pirates off the coast near Kuala Langsa in Indonesia. The ship’s chief engineer was shot in the head and is in a critical condition, the International Chamber of Commerce reported.

   The Indian convictions also follow a recent Chinese court decision to sentence the hijackers of the tanker Siam Xanxai to between 10 and 15 years’ imprisonment.