Eight Indian crew-members of hijacked ship return to Mumbai

Released by Somali pirates after a seven-month-long ordeal, eight crew members of the hijacked ship M/T Asphalt Venture on Sunday returned to India.

Last Updated: May 02, 2011, 00:30 AM IST

Mumbai: Released by Somali pirates after a
seven-month-long ordeal, eight crew members of the hijacked
ship M/T Asphalt Venture on Sunday returned to India.

Captain Ramesh Singh and seven sailors were released on
April 15 by the pirates after reaching a deal with the owners
of the vessel, which involved payment of an undisclosed ransom
amount.

However, the pirates -- who were supposed to release all
the 15 crew members -- allegedly backtracked and took seven
crew members, including six officers, on-shore to Somalia. The
ship was released by the pirates.

Those released waited on the vessel for their colleagues
for a while before being escorted safely to the Kenyan port of
Mombasa on April 28 with the help of Indian Navy, as staying
in pirates-infested waters was not safe.

After a couple of days of rest, they flew to Mumbai in
the wee hours today, a representative of the shipping company
told PTI over phone.

"It is a wonderful feeling to be back home (and) to be
reunited with our families...we remain deeply concerned that
seven of our colleagues and friends remain in the hands of the
criminal gang," Captain Singh was quoted as saying in an
e-mailed statement.

In the statement, Singh declined to give more details,
saying he did not want to do anything which could compromise
the safety of the remaining seven seamen.

The pirates backtracked and did not release the entire
crew demanding the release of their acquaintances, who were
arrested by Indian authorities on suspicion of indulging in
piracy in the country`s waters.

PTI