26 August 2018
London.UK. The family of one of the British maritime security guards held in Chennai prison, India, during the four year Seaman Guard Ohio case which started in October 2013, has thanked the charity for their work alongside many other organisations, State authorities and individuals who collectively supported their prolonged fight for justice and which resulted in their release in November 2017 alongside the other members of the crew. The British maritime security guards collectively became known as the Chennai 6.
As part of the advocacy efforts, Human Rights at Sea drafted the first human rights review of their case in February 2015, part-financed the awareness film in September 2017, and produced and disseminated Family impact Statements.
Lisa Dunn, sister of Nick Dunn, wrote to the charity and said:
“Since Nick and all his colleagues were rightfully issued their full acquittal in November 2017 after just over 4 years, it has been and still is an absolute whirlwind but for all the right reasons now. The stress that this situation placed our family under was considerable and it is the most wonderful feeling being together as a family again.
As soon as Nick walked through the arrival doors at Newcastle airport in December 2017, the pain and stress instantly faded from our parents faces and the relief for us all was immediate; it really was a magical moment. We still have so much to catch up on and we may never catch up on all the things
Nick has missed out on while being away but he is coping with what happened to him remarkably well. He’s got such strength of character that it’s admirable and he is a true credit to the family. He is still taking each day as it comes and appreciates the smallest things that we take for granted every day. It’s lovely to see him in control of his day instead of his day being controlled for him.
It’s only been 8 months since he returned home so it is still early days and is still very raw. It hasn’t been easy for either of us to find our new normal because certainly for our family, our lives will never be as they were before Nick went away due to illnesses and deaths. In some respects it feels like he’s never been away but in others, it’s a constant painful reminder. However, Nick has shown throughout this situation that he is very resilient and he will adapt and overcome. He will not let what happened to him, beat him and he is hopeful that he will turn the negative into positives.
We really are indebted to Human Rights At Sea for their kindness shown and their invaluable support along the way.”
Nick Dunn added: “Every single day when I wake up, I am so grateful to have freedom. It is something that is taken for granted every day however I truly know what freedom really means now. If it wasn’t for the love and support that was given to us on a daily basis then the daily struggle would have been so much worse. I’m incredibly thankful and grateful to all at Human Rights At Sea and always will be, for their fantastic support in our fight for justice.”
HRAS Comment: The case highlighted the stark issues that maritime security guards, privately employed by shipping companies to protect their assets, constantly face on a daily basis and the risks they take in undertaking their highly challenging roles, the majority of which goes unrecognised by the public at large. The case additionally highlighted the need for continued State, flag State and shipping company due diligence and direct engagement in providing a supported work environment underpinned by direct legal access for the very men and women who risk their lives to ensure that global trade continues to flow 365 days a year. The tenacity of all the family’s efforts to secure the release of all crew involved in this case is further evidence that no privately contracted maritime security guard can completely rely upon commercial backing in undertaking their roles, and it is testament to the need for robust and collectively engaged support networks across the entire maritime welfare space for all seafarers and contractors working at sea.