INSA, NUSI condemn pirates for not releasing hostages



Mumbai: Deploring the act of Somalian pirates holding back seven Indian sailors despite full payment of the ransom amount, various seafarers' unions and a local shipowners' body on Monday demanded their immediate release.

"While acts of piracy and hijacking of vessels are unacceptable, the action of holding back seven Indian seafarers despite full payment of ransom money is extremely concerning. We deplore the happenings," Indian National Shipowners' Association (INSA) Chief Executive Officer, Anil Devli, said in a statement here.

This action would also have ominous repercussions on the global shipping community and will cause immense harm to international trade, he said.

"It is a shameful act on the part of the pirates and has brought dishonour to a negotiated agreement of payment of ransom. This act of detaining the seafarers even after receiving the full ransom amount has left a question mark on the effectiveness of the other negotiations," National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) general secretary, Abdulgani Serang, said.

The International Transport Workers Federation, London, along with the International Chamber of Shipping, London and other key stakeholders have also condemned this act of the pirates of going back on their words and have demanded the release of the seafarers, Serang said.

The merchant ship Panama flag vessel "Asphalt Venture" carrying 15 crew-members, all Indians, was hijacked by Somali pirates on September 28, 2010. After negotiations with the pirates, the company paid the ransom amount for the release of the crew.

However, on April 15, they released only eight crew- members including the captain of the vessel and seven ratings and have held seven others (1 rating and 6 officers) captive. Presently, there are more than 700 seafarers held hostage by the pirates, the statement said.

PTI

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K V Thangkabalu was arrested here on Monday for holding agitations against the alleged killing of Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The senior Congress leader was staging a protest along with hundreds of party workers near Nageshwara Rao park in Mylapore when he was arrested.

Four Tamil fishermen from Thangachimadam in Nagapattinam district had gone missing on April 2. Their bodies were found recently allegedly with bruises.

Local fishermen have alleged that their four colleagues had been tortured to death by Sri Lankan naval personnel and the bodies dumped one by one into the sea.

Fishermen in Rameswaram had yesterday demanded setting up of an enquiry commission to probe the death and alleged torture of these four fishermen.

PTI