Ferrari to back accused Italians in India

Ferrari to back accused Italians in India

Formula One team Ferrari today said it will show its support for Italian navy personnel being held in India by racing with military symbols on its cars' livery at the Indian Grand Prix this weekend.

Two navy personnel were imprisoned in India in March, and later bailed, following the fatal shooting of two fishermen mistaken for pirates trying to attack an oil tanker the Italians were protecting.

The team said on its website "Scuderia Ferrari will carry the flag of the Italian Navy on the cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in this weekend's Indian Grand Prix.

"In doing so, Ferrari pays tribute to one of the outstanding entities of our country, also in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation currently involving two sailors from the Italian Navy."

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone shot the fishermen off India's southwestern coast on February 15.

Armed guards are increasingly deployed on cargo ships and tankers in the Indian Ocean to tackle threats from Somali pirates, who often hold ships and crews hostage for months demanding multi-million-dollar ransoms.

The marines said the fishermen's boat behaved suspiciously and ignored warning shots while approaching the Italian oil tanker. They denied murder and were later released on bail but are still awaiting the outcome of their fate.

The incident caused a diplomatic row as Rome called for their return and the regional Kerala government ruled out any out-of-court settlement.

Rome says the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings occurred on an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, but India says they took place in waters under its jurisdiction.

After the marines were charged with murder in May, Italy recalled its ambassador to Rome for consultations on the matter.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox