Karachi: The 22 crew members, including
six Indians, of Egyptian merchant vessel MV Suez will reach
here before being sent back to their respective countries,
Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney has said.
Burney, who has played a pivotal role in securing the
release of the crew, hoped the return of the Indian sailors
would be a "gift" to India.
Besides the six Indians, there are five Pakistanis and
a Sri Lankan among the crew, which was yesterday transferred
to Pakistani warship PNS Babar after the vessel started
"I hope this will be a good gift to India from my
side. I love you all Indians, I love you all Pakistanis,"
"When they will reach here, from the next flight I
will send them back to their respective countries," he said to a news channel.
MV Suez was on its way to the Omani port of Salalah
when it ran out of fuel and began taking on water in stormy
weather. On getting a call for assistance, Pakistan Navy chief
Admiral Noman Bashir ordered the vessel`s crew to be shifted
to the frigate PNS Babar, which was escorting it.
Burney played a crucial role in arranging for ransom
and negotiating with the Somali pirates who held the ship for
The crew of the MV Suez was released last week after
Burney collected USD 2.1 million that was paid as ransom to
The Egyptian-owned merchant vessel was in a
"considerably deteriorated operational and material state"
after being held by the pirates for about 10 months, the
Pakistan Navy said.
The crew "was weak and suffering from various
ailments", the Pakistan Navy said.
On June 17, the ship`s fuel was exhausted while it was
100 nautical miles short of the Omani port of Salalah.
Though a tug was arranged for towing the vessel to
Salalah, the tug too developed a defect and the towing plan
India and Pakistan have traded angry charges over an
incident involving their warships that were sent to help the
Pakistan alleged that the Indian warship INS Godavari
brushed against the PNS Babar.
India denied the allegation and said the PNS Babar was
responsible for the incident as it carried out dangerous