All efforts on to secure release of Indian hostages: Govt

New Delhi: The government Thursday it is making all efforts to seek the early release of 64 Indians held hostage by Somali pirates, including six on board an Egyptian cargo ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, in August last year.

"I share the anxiety and concerns of the family members and we are making all efforts to ensure the safety of Indians and also to expedite their release," Shipping Minister G K Vasan told reporters here after meeting about 6-7 families of the Indian sailors taken hostage.

Talking about the six hostages on board the cargo ship M V Suez, he said the captured ship belongs to an Egyptian company and India would use diplomatic channels for their release and safety.

Vasan said his ministry officials are in touch with their counterparts in the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue but refused to elaborate the steps taken by the government.

"I would like to emphasise that any step taken by the government has to be discreet and cannot be discussed in public domain while the process is on," Vasan said, adding he reviewed the steps taken in an internal meeting of his ministry earlier in the day.

According to the Shipping Ministry's data, out of 214 Indians held hostage by Somali pirates during 2007-11, 150 sailors have been released so far.

"This shows that the efforts taken to release the hostages have borne fruit," Vasan said.

However, family members of the hostage Indian sailors, who met the Shipping Minister here today, were unhappy with the government efforts and said they are getting assurances only but no positive results.