Six American men who were aboard a ship that was intercepted by local police in Honduras have been detained since May 5, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa as well as a relative of two of the jailed men.
An online effort to help with legal costs for the six crew members of a U.S. vessel who are jailed in Honduras has raised more than $4,600 in 10 days.
The fundraising effort on behalf of the crew of the Aqua Quest International is on “Go-Fund-Me,” a crowdfunding site. Aqua Quest's goal is to raise $18,500.
The six crew members of the Aqua Quest vessel have been in jail at Puerto Lempira since early May. On May 13, a judge ordered the crew to remain in custody indefinitely.
An appeals court in Honduras may decide as early as Friday what happens next to the men, said Gustavo Arguello, whose law firm in Honduras has been representing them.
When local police authorities boarded the vessel last month, and found weapons – several firearms, including an AK-47 rifle, two shotguns and two handguns, according to published reports – and arrested the captain and five crew members based on allegations that they were in possession of illegal arms.
The captain, Robert Mayne, the CEO of Aqua Quest International, a salvage company based in Tarpon Springs, Florida said the company was in Honduras to remove mahogany logs. Mayne, who had encountered criminals along his trips who had tried to rob him and his crew, said he carried weapons for protection.
Aqua Quest representatives insist the captain had carefully reviewed the regulations for carrying weapons and made sure they remained in compliance.
“We’ve done everything we can,” Arguello said. “Now it’s in their hands. They could go free, or they’ll be sentenced.”
A security team was set up for the crew in Honduras, aware of the dangers, and how much a U.S. vessel – rarely seen in the area – would attract attention.
U.S. publications cite a Honduran newspaper, El Heraldo, as quoting the commander of the Honduran Navy as saying the crew was arrested because “they carried five weapons, one of which is prohibited, and they did not have a permit to carry weapons in Honduran territory.”