Family seeks release of Indian sailor from pirates



New Delhi: Family members of a Kerala sailor, who is among 17 Indians on board a Nigerian vessel hijacked by Somali pirates, have urged the Indian government to intervene in seeking their release.

The MT Royal Grace, a chemical tanker owned by Oyster Cargo and Shipping Company, was hijacked by Somali pirates March 2 after it set off from a Sharjah port for Nigeria Feb 28.

The tanker has 22 crew members, including 17 Indians, on board, according to Andrew Mwangura, a programme coordinator for the Seafarers' Assistance Programme in Kenya.

Three Nigerians, one Pakistani and a Bangladeshi are the other members on the vessel.

Multinational counter-piracy force EU Navfor has confirmed that there was an attack on the ship and it was hijacked by pirates.

In a letter to the Indian external affairs and shipping ministries, the family of Midhun K.C. from Pallakad in Kerala has urged the government's intervention to get the sailors released.

In the letter, the family says they have had no information about the vessel and its crew for about "more than a month now".

"The company (that owns the vessel) has not taken any action regarding the release of the hostages," the letter said.

"Please help us to get them back safe," the family implores in the letter.

IANS