Petition regarding the release of Captain Andrzej Lasota arrested in Mexico

President of Republic of Poland

Excellency  Andrzej Duda

Presidential Palace in Warsaw

Krakowskie Przedmieście 46/48 

00-071 Poland       


                                            Dear Excellency / Mr. President  Andrzej Duda


I am appealing to you, Mr. President, in terms of your humanness, capacity as President of the Republic of Poland and history with the “Law and Justice Party”,  for your urgent intercession in the case of Polish Master Mariner, Captain Andrzej Lasota, Master of Cyprus registered Multi-Purpose Dry Cargo vessel, UBC Savannah (IMO 9220976), who has been held in custody, by the Mexican authorities, since the 5th August 2019, already almost 4 months, without either due cause or trial.   Captain Andrzej  Lasota was arrested by the Mexican authorities on the grounds of, according to the Prosecutor's office, alleged negligence in failing to be aware that the ship he commanded may have been carrying prohibited substances, said substances being illegally delivered to Mexico, placing the lives and health of the country's citizens at risk. In excess of 240 kgs of cocaine, buried under several thousand tons of coal, was discovered when ship’s Duty Officer, having noticed suspicious packages in the hold during unloading, informed the First Officer who subsequently notified ship’s Master. Captain Andrzej Lasota immediately suspended discharging and reported the findings to the Mexican authorities who thereafter proceeded to arrest both the vessel and the entire crew. Despite the irrevocable facts that the vessel was subject to multiple extensive searches at the loading port, Barranquilla, Columbia, by both local police and port security officers, during which no drugs were located and the eventual lack of evidence of any involvement by any crewmember in the deployment of the drug consignment, the entire crew were imprisoned in the city of Ciudad Victoria.  We are considering innocent seamen, going about their daily business, being treated as common criminals, needless to say, fearful of their immediate personal safety and imminent future of themselves and respective families/dependents. Whilst, with the exception of Captain Andrzej Lasota, the remaining compliment of crew were released by the court some two months later, they were only to be re-arrested by the Immigration office due to their port passes having expired during their improper detainment and hence considered as remaining in Mexico illegally. After a further 6 weeks in custody, they were deported, assisted by immigration officials, including 2 citizens of the Republic of Poland. Captain Andrzej Lasota, stressed and anxious regarding both his own and crewmembers’ predicament, was deprived of access to medicines which he had been prescribed on medical practitioner’s advice and, as a consequence, his health deteriorated and he was temporarily admitted to a medical facility. Unfortunately, under pressure from the local police, he was returned to prison after signing a declaration that the therapy provided would be continued. Later his condition necessitated transfer to a private clinic, where he remained, under guard, for over one month before being discharged and returned to his cell. During the last court hearing, the judge set a five-month deadline for the prosecutor's office to gather evidence to start the trial proceedings, which, according to the local court, may take up to 2 years. The allegations against Captain Andrzej Lasota are punishable by a term of prolonged imprisonment ranging from anything between 10 to 20 years. Legal representatives of the Ship Management Company by whom Captain Andrzej Lasota is employed and locally adopted sources are equally at a loss to comprehend how, and why, given the irrefutable facts surrounding the discovery of the “cache” and immediate transparency of Captain Andrzej  Lasota’s actions, that he remains indefinitely incarcerated in a hostile and perilous environment. Captain Andrzej Lasota’s employers, colleagues, family, and friends are pursuing all avenues to assist him in the endeavour to be re-united with his homeland and loved ones although their efforts alone are not enough given the judiciary and political obstacles. It is acknowledged within the global Shipping community that the allegations are unfounded. It is absurd considering that these drugs did not infiltrate the Mexican community as they were surrendered to the authorities without hesitation. It is believed that our Captain has become an accidental victim of a dirty drug cartel game, which is unmanageable by local authorities who are simply not equipped to handle the prolific increase in drug trafficking offenses, assigning responsibility for alleged delivery to innocent parties. Recently, the President of Mexico, Mr. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, announced an amnesty program. Therefore, we call upon the President of the Republic of Poland to implore the President of the Republic of Mexico, a state with which diplomatic relations are maintained,  to make every effort to establish a dialogue with the express intention of including Captain Andrzej Lasota in this program. We strongly believe that the President of the Republic of Poland and Polish State is well-positioned to “take up the gauntlet” and lend their full weight to this worthy cause in expediting the release and repatriation of an entirely guiltless Polish citizen from this “nightmare” scenario and return him to the safety and warmth of his beloved homeland and family and, in the interim, ensure his dignity and personal safety, with which we are greatly concerned, especially following recent information that he has been transferred from Ciudad Victoria to a federal prison in Tepic. Captain Andrzej Lasota, Andrzej (Andy) as he is known to his friends and colleagues, is not just another casualty of corrupt society he is the personification of a Polish Master Mariner, having spent many years at sea, educating countless officers and other Master Mariners never having neglected his duties and responsibilities and a highly respected and valued navigator,  with an unblemished reputation. It is his devotion to duty and adherence to procedures that may contributed to his current plight. We stress the urgency of this matter given the precarious nature of Captain Andrzej Lasota’s incarceration and that the harsh rigor of this prison means that contact with him will be significantly reduced, in fact, almost impossible, and that he continues to struggle with personal health issues including coronary artery disease and hereby kindly request that the President of the Republic of Poland affords his immediate assistance in the endeavour to secure his early release. With the undying gratitude of Captain Lasota’s associates, family, and friends