Indian hostages of Somali pirates safe

Four Indian crewmembers of a Singapore-flagged ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates are safe.

Updated: Oct 18, 2009, 20:34 PM IST

New Delhi: Four Indian crewmembers of a Singapore-flagged ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday are safe, said relatives and officials on Sunday.
A statement on the website of European Union’s anti-piracy force said the Kota Wajar was seized early on Thursday in the Indian Ocean about 480 km north of the Seychelles islands.

The pirates have made a call to Pacific International, the Singapore-based owners of the ship, but have not made any ransom demands. Pacific International says the vessel has been traced and crewmembers are safe.

The shipping company has informed the Singapore government and efforts are being made to secure the release of the ship. T C A Raghavan, Indian High Commissioner in Singapore, has contacted the Singapore Government and the shipping company for the safe release of the hostages.

Abdulgani Y Serang, General Secretary, National Union of Seafarers of India, said in Mumbai that hijacked ship’s crew included people from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Dipika Pathania, wife of Raghuveer Singh, an Indians hostage aboard the ship, said the company had told her family that the crew is safe but did not say when they will be freed.

"We don`t want money. I just want my husband to be freed," Pathania said to a news agency.

"I spoke to the Singapore office in the morning. They told me that everyone is safe on the ship and it has reached Somalia. They said that they are trying to speak to the pirates," said Saroj Dev Singh, brother of another Indian hostage.

Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since 1991 and piracy has flourished off its coast, making the Gulf of Aden one of the most dangerous waterways in the world.

Pirate attacks around the world have more than doubled to 240 during the first six months of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

Bureau Report