Five Indian sailors kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria released: Shipping Minister

Five India sailors - Sudeep Chaudhary, Ankit Hooda, Chirag Yadav, Avinash Reddy, and Moogu Ravi – were kidnapped from a vessel - MT Apecus – and taken to Bonny Island, Nigeria on April 19 this year.

Five Indian sailors kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria released: Shipping Minister
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New Delhi: Five Indian sailors, who were kidnapped from a ship in Nigeria, have been released and taken in safe custody, the Minister of State (MoS) for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, said on Saturday.

"I am happy to share that due to sustained efforts of various stakeholders including Ministry of Shipping, the Directorate General of Shipping and the High Commission of India, Abujam, Nigeria, the kidnapped India seafarers were successfully released and have reached the safe custody of the authorities," Mandaviya said.

Five India sailors - Sudeep Chaudhary, Ankit Hooda, Chirag Yadav, Avinash Reddy and Moogu Ravi – were kidnapped from a vessel - MT Apecus - and then taken to Bonny Island, Nigeria on April 19 this year.

After the news of their kidnapping came, an Inter-Ministerial Group of Officers (IMGO) was set up by the Centre, under the Ministry of Shipping, to deal with the maritime security situation.

The Ministry of Shipping, through Directorate General of Shipping, contacted the Indian High Commission in Abujam, Nigeria and also closely coordinated with various agencies to secure their safe release. 

It may also be recalled that Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had written to EAM S Jaishankar regarding the same, requesting his personal intervention in the matter.

Pradhan requested the External Affairs Ministry for its urgent intervention after the father of Sudeep Chaudhary, a resident of Odisha, approached him seeking his help.

Praising the EAM Jaishankar and Mandaviya and the entire team for securing the safe release of the sailors, Pradhan tweeted, "Thank you S Jaishankar, Mansukh Mandaviya and all the stakeholders for their efforts in securing the release of 5 Indian seafarers including that of Sudeep Chowdhary from Odisha who was amongst our citizens kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria." 

The Minister said that the five Indian sailors are in safe custody.