Statements

This document will analyse "Annexes 27, 29 and 33" attached to Indian documents filed at the International Tribunal for the Law Of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg on 6 August, 2015

   Statement of Mr Vitelli Umberto, Captain of the MV Enrica Lexie, 15 June 2013
   Statement of Mr Sahil Gupta, Crew member of the MV Enrica Lexie, 26 June 2013
   Statement of Mr V.James Mandley Samson, Crew member of the MV Enrica Lexie, 24 July 2013

These are the statements made to the Indian authorities by three people that at the time of the accident were on deck with different roles and assignments. Purpose of this document: find items, in the statements, on the reconstruction of the events, which are useful to the defense of the two accused.

NOTE: These statements were made after about one year of the issue of Charge Sheet (the recap document of the investigations in which it asks the committal for trial of the two accused, which is of May 2012).

Statement of Mr Vitelli Umberto, Captain of the MV Enrica Lexie

From the statement of Capt. Vitelli does not arise interesting items for the reconstruction of the events. On hearing the gunshots Capt. Vitelli pressed the general alarm button, warned the crew that it was not a training exercise and to take shelter in "Citadel" of the ship (it's a protected/safe room) and pressed the SSAS button (the automatic alarm system, which we have feedback).

  • I have not watched the starboard site;
  • I have seen the boat around 80 to 100mt on the ship;
  • I have seen a fraction of the boat;
  • When I saw the boat from the bridge I have not seen any armed person on the board of the boat;
  • I did not see any ladders or hook in the boat;
  • I have not cross checked with Fulbaria about the presence of the armed man and other crew members;
  • In my esperience I not face any pirate attack.

Statement of Mr Sahil Gupta, Crew member of the MV Enrica Lexie

Mr. Sahil Gupta is Second Mate of the Enrica Lexie (third in the chain of command after the Master, Capt. Vitelli, and the Chief Mate, Capt. Noviello).

  • Ship time is 30m behind IST time;
  • About 15.45 ELT my watch duty Naren Fulbaria reported that the notice of fishing boat;
  • I asked him to monitor it;
  • I checked the position on the radar and I was sure that the boat will clearly passing without collision;
  • When I heard firing the boat was about 200mt away from the ship;
  • It was a normal fishing boat and I did not seen anything unusual with it;
  • I have not see any person armed in the boat.

Statement of Mr Victor James Mandley Samson, Second Mate of the MV Enrica Lexie

Mr. Samson enters the command deck exactly at 16:00 ELT "ship time" at the beginning of his turn, coinciding with the announcement of the general alarm.

  • I took the binocular and went to the AFT window (behind window), and sighted a boat drawing away;
  • There were not hooks and ladders in the boat;
  • The sighted boat looked like a fishing boat and there no was no armed people in that fishing boat.

Question:

It seems the statements of three experts seamen agree on some important points:

  1. It was a fishing boat (Vitelli, Gupta, Samson);
  2. It has been "seen" (Vitelli 100mt, Gupta 200mt, Samson 100mt);
  3. It had not on board hooks or ladders for boarding (Vitelli, Gupta, Samson);
  4. There were not armed people (Vitelli, Gupta, Samson).

Well, after working for the prosecution let's now working for the defense.

The St.Antony fishing boat in Neendakara
The St.Antony fishing boat in Neendakara.

What above assumes that they were able to identify the St.Antony.

Having made the statements over a year after the events, they should have seen countless times the images of St.Antony, and might well recognize in what they saw protagonist of the incident with the Enrica Lexie.

It is obvious that indicate specific details such as lack of hooks and ladders for boarding and the absence of armed people must encompass both the description of the vessel and the name clearly visible on the bow.

It cannot be, and three Persons, with the eagle eye on the hooks and short-sighted on the name that may be estimated long over a pair of meters.

The other element contrary to the credibility of these statements is the absence of the questions by the investigators. If they were "reports" there would be the question and its answer.

But in these "statements" you can image the investigator that quivers with curiosity to know if the three witnesses recognize the St.Antony, but these, although describing everything in detail, omit the particular identification key.

And the investigator is disappointed by the absence of the evidence from witnesses, but he does not so request.

Does not hold, it's clear that in the "statement" we should find the key response: if it was or was not the St.Antony.

Conclusions

By statements of Vitelli, Gupta, and Samson, the boat approached the Enrica Lexie, causing the reaction of the watchkeeping staff, is not identified.

The reports describe details (hooks, ladders, weapons) that assume an obvious identification and recognition of the boat by eyewitnesses.

However the statements leave this identification to the imagination of the reader, in a context much more similar to media techniques that judicial practice. This may be okay to manipulate a public unprepared for lack of specific professional preparation, but of any values in a courtroom where on the verbal it reports "to demand it answers."

Willing to trust these testimonies must once again conclude that the boat in question was not the St.Antony.