Somali pirates free ship with 11 Indians

Eleven months after being seized, RAK Africana with 11 Indians has been freed by Somali pirates.

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2011, 00:36 AM IST

New Delhi: Ending their 11-month-long
ordeal, 11 Indians captured along with their ship have been
freed by Somali Pirates after "prolonged negotiations".

"11 Indian sailors on ship RAK Africana are released
by Somali pirates. They have been picked up by Spanish naval
ship in vicinity - r (They are) safe," Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao said on Twitter.

Noting that the negotiations for release of the
Indians were "delicate" and "prolonged", she said 53 Indian
sailors are still in captivity of the pirates along with
hostages from other countries.
"Still 53 Indian sailors in hands of pirates - all
seized with other nationalities also from foreign owned ships.
No Indian ship seized," she said referring to the hijacking
incidents involving several vessels over last few years.

Rao said the pirates have freed a total of 21 crew
members of the MV Rak Africana ship out of which 11 are
Indians. The ship is owned by a Seychelles company.

"Ship owned by Seychelles co. Flew St. Vincent flag.
Of 21 crew members, 11 were Indians. Negotiations on release
were delicate & prolonged," she said.
Rao said the help of the Spanish ship, which was in
the vicinity, was sought through the Indian Navy and Indian
consulate in Dubai as the Afrikana engines were not working.

MV Rak Africana is registered in Saint Vincent and the
Grenadine.

MV Rak Africana was seized approximately 280 nautical
miles west of the Seychelles on April 11, 2010 with 23 crew
members on board.

Somali pirates have struck several times in the
international waters over the last few years, seizing several
ships, six of which had 64 Indians on board before the release
of Rak Africana crew members.

India has been talking to various countries in that
region seeking their cooperation in fighting the menace but
has ruled out hot pursuit.

PTI