Somali pirates offer talks with govt: Report

Somali pirates, who have hijacked the vessel MV Asphalt Venture with 46 Indians on board, have offered to talk with the Indian government to negotiate over their demands.

Updated: May 06, 2011, 09:53 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Somali pirates, who have hijacked the vessel MV Asphalt Venture with 46 Indians on board, have offered to talk with the Indian government to negotiate over their demands, media reports claimed on Friday.

As per reports, the pirates do not want to carry on any dialogue with the company and instead want to speak directly with the Government of India.
The Somali pirates are pressing for the release of their accomplices, who are currently in the Indian jails following their arrests during the Indian Navy and Coast Guard operations in the Indian Ocean in the past few months.

Earlier on Wednesday, government ruled out any possibility of holding talks with Somali pirates, and decided to "wait and watch" as ship owners continued to negotiate the release of the hostages.
The decision was taken at an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), which met for the first time after being set up last month to deal with the problem.

The meeting was of the view that the government should not negotiate with the pirates or enter into deals for release of crew on ransom, report said.
The IMG, headed by Additional Secretary, Shipping, Vijay Chhibber, and including senior official from Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting besides Navy and Intelligence Bureau, was formed on the recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) to deal with the problem of piracy which has been on the rise and to strengthen security measures.

At present, 46 Indians are in the captivity of Somali pirates after being captured onboard four vessels over last year or so. They include seven aboard Indian freighter Asphalt Venture, whose other eight hostages were released after payment of ransom recently.

With PTI inputs