ITF calls on Sri Lankan government to release Ukrainian seafarer after three years of detention


The ITF today called on the Sri Lankan government to immediately release Ukrainian seafarer Caption Gennadiy Gavrylov and allow him to return to his home in Ukraine.

“For over three years, Gennadiy Gavrylov has been stranded in Sri Lanka desperate to go home, while Sri Lankan authorities refuse to grant him permission to leave the country,” said ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton. 

“He is a victim of criminalisation, and his continued detention is nothing short of a severe breach of his human rights.

“No seafarer, no family, should have to go through the experience that Gennadiy is going through. Over the past three years of detention, Captain Gavylov has been restricted from contacting his family, prevented from leaving Sri Lanka and prevented from earning a living.

“His health is suffering, he desperately needs life-saving heart surgery, and his family is left languishing without his wage to support them,” said Cotton.

Gennadiy Gavrylov has been prevented from leaving Sri Lanka since his arrest on 23 June 2016 in connection with the police investigation relating to the Sri Lankan flagged vessel Avant Garde.

Captain Gavrylov was the master on board the Avant Garde, a vessel engaged in maritime security and piracy prevention. Firearms and ammunition stores were kept on board for the purposed of this role.

In October 2015, the vessel was awaiting clearance to enter port anchored outside Sri Lanka waters on the orders of the company, when it was seized by Sri Lankan authorities and forced to enter Sri Lankan waters. On June 2016, Captain Gavrylov was arrested in relation to the illegal importation of arms.

“International law is clear on the rights of individuals who are subject to detention by state authorities, if any person is arrested or detained on a criminal charge, they should be permitted to stand trial or be released within a reasonable time,” said Cotton.

“Taking into account the circumstances surround Captain Gavrylov’s arrest, and taking into consideration his current ill health and the long time he has already spent in detention without charge, we implore the Sri Lankan government to intervene and allow Captain Gavrylov to go home,” concluded Cotton.