Seafarers imprisoned after STS refuelling off Dubai

Nine sailors have been sentenced to six months in jail and fined AED100,000 ($27,200) in combined fines after refuelling ships at sea off Dubai. The Dubai Court of the First Instance ordered the defendants be deported after serving their jail term. In July two Iranian captains and six sailors, three Iranians and three Indians, were transferring diesel to a ship in the middle of the sea, an illegal act.

The Dubai Coast Guard patrol received a call from the command room to conduct a check. An Emirati soldier testified they received the coordinates and two boats went to the area at 13:36. “We saw a boat refuelling a ship through pipes. The boat withdrew the pipes and tried to escape but we stopped them and asked the sailors for their IDs. They claimed they didn’t have any documents,” the Emirati soldier said.

The officers went to the ship to check the sailors’ papers when the boat moved to the north. “They swerved and hit our boat from the left side and escaped towards the north. We chased them but they didn’t stop,” the soldier said.

Two warning shots were fired and the boat then stopped. The sailors with their captain were arrested and brought to Dubai. Dubai Public Prosecution said that the 21-year-old Indian sailor on the ship admitted they bought the fuel from the boat on the instructions of the 34-year-old Iranian captain.