Statement by ICS on behalf of Captain Yu Yihai, imprisoned in Honduras since August 2021
International Chamber of Shipping, Secretary General, Guy Platten :
ICS would like to raise awareness of Captain Yu Yihai’s imprisonment without trial in Honduras. Captain Yu is the former Master of the Mount Hikurangi, a vessel owned and operated by Pacific Basin.
In August 2021 the Honduran port authorities in Puerto Cortes discovered bags of cocaine in the vent shaft of one of the Mount Hikurangi’s cargo holds during discharge operations.
We understand that there is no evidence linking Captain Yu, or any of the crew, to this discovery and that Captain Yu is detained primarily because he was the Master in charge of the vessel at the relevant time.
Captain Yu has been in prison for 16 months without bail and without trial and he has only recently been formally indicted for a drug-smuggling offence.
Captain Yu’s ordeal is contrary to the principles in the IMO / ILO guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers, the Maritime Labour Convention, and Human Rights law, for trials to be conducted as expeditiously as possible or for the detained person to be released, and for non-custodial alternatives to pre-trial detention to be considered.
We have been very disappointed to learn that Captain Yu’s application for bail was refused last week by the Sentencing Court in the Honduras capital (Tegucigalpa).
Whilst we recognise that this Committee and this body has no locus over the matter, ICS would again appeal to the Honduran administration for Captain Yu’s release on bail in Honduras and for his trial to be conducted as expeditiously as possible.