Govt pays ransom to free MV Suez



Govt pays ransom to free MV Suez Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Bowing to the demands by Somali pirates, Indian government on Tuesday paid a ransom of USD 2.1 million for the release of MV Suez, currently under their captivity, media reports suggested.

Government reportedly transferred the amount into the account of pirates after reaching an agreement with them.

MV Suez was hijacked by the pirates from the Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010. It had 53 Indians on board.

Earlier, family members of six Indian sailors, held captive by the Somali pirates had urged the central government to intervene and ensure their safe release.

The six Indians were amongst the 22 crew members of Egyptian cargo vessel MV Suez, hijacked by the pirates.

According to the Merchant Navy Officers Association (MNOA), the pirates had demanded a ransom of $4 million and had given a deadline of seven days for payment.

"The way the entire issue is being handled gives the impression that the central government is being bogged down by red-tapism and no serious effort is being made to tackle the issue head on. We demand an immediate response from the centre."

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had also sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get six Indian hostages (two from Haryana) released from Somali pirates.

The Ansar Burney Trust, which is run by Pakistan's former human rights minister Ansar Burney, was also working to ensure the safe release of the Indian and Pakistani hostages.