495 Indian sailors held hostage by Somali pirates in 4yrs: Govt

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 22:06

New Delhi: The government on Thursday said 495
Indian sailors were held hostages by the Somali pirates in
last four years, and barring 64, all of them have been
released safely.

These 64 sailors, who are still to be rescued, were crew
members of 6 ships -- MV Iceberg-I, MV Rak Afrikana, MV Suez,
MV Asphalt Venture, MV Savina Caylyn, and MV Sinin -- that
were high jacked by the pirates in last one year, the Shipping
Ministry said in a statement.

It added that all of them have been reported safe.
The statement further said that two foreign flag ships --
MV Savina Caylyn, and MV Sinin--, having 26 Indians as crew
members, were high jacked this year, in January and February
respectively.

Talking about the increasing attacks by the pirates, the
statement said none of the Indian ships have got high jacked
in last four years, although seven had come under attack by
the pirates of the Somalia coast between 2007 to 2011.

It added that 200 Indian seafarers were held hostage on
board foreign flag ships during the same period.
In addition to this, the pirates managed to capture about
20 Indian MSVs (Motor support vessels) and 295 sailors on
board these MSVs in last four years, the statement said, while
adding that all of them have got released.

Shipping Minister G K Vasan, after meeting about 6-7
families of the Indian sailors taken hostage, today said that
"I share the anxiety and concerns of the family members
and we are making all efforts to ensure the safety of Indians
and also to expedite their release."

Vasan said his ministry officials are in touch with their
counterparts in the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue
but refused to elaborate the steps taken by the government.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 22:06
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