On October 12, 2013 the Indian Coast Guard had intercepted the vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by US company AdvanFort on Indian waters close to Tuticorin. The private security guards and crew including 6 Britons, 14 Estonians, three Ukrainians and 12 Indians were arrested.
They were charged with failing to have the proper paperwork to carry weapons in Indian waters.
The ship's crew had claimed that the ship ran out of fuel. The prosecution, however, argued that the crew had arranged to buy 1500 litres of fuel via agents.
The court has told the British crew that they can apply to the Indian authorities to get back their passports after which they will be able to travel home to the UK. "They still need to get police clearance before they can come home, so there are steps being taken to try to ensure that everything's in place," said Joanne Tomlinson, the sister of another British ex-soldier John Armstrong.
With inputs from PTI