ITF urges Sri Lanka to release detained Ukrainian captain

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called on the Sri Lankan government to release a Ukrainian seafarer who has been detained in Sri Lanka since 2016.

Captain Gennadiy Gavrylov has been prevented from leaving Sri Lanka since his arrest on June 23, 2016, in connection with the police investigation relating to the Sri Lanka-flagged offshore support vessel Avant Garde.

The Avant Garde was engaged in maritime security and piracy prevention and firearms and ammunition stores were kept on board for the purpose of this role, according to the ITF.

In October 2015, the vessel was awaiting clearance to enter port anchored outside Sri Lankan waters on the orders of the company, when it was seized by the country’s authorities and forced to enter its waters. Captain Gavrylov was arrested in relation to illegal importation of arms.

“For over three years, Gennadiy Gavrylov has been stranded in Sri Lanka desperate to go home, while Sri Lankan authorities refuse to grant him permission to leave the country,” Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary, said.

“International law is clear on the rights of individuals who are subject to detention by state authorities, if any person is arrested or detained on a criminal charge, they should be permitted to stand trial or be released within a reasonable time,” Cotton added.

“Taking into account the circumstances surrounding Captain Gavrylov’s arrest, and taking into consideration his current ill health and the long time he has already spent in detention without charge, we implore the Sri Lankan government to intervene and allow Captain Gavrylov to go home,” concluded Cotton.

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