A year after their abduction by Somalian pirates, 28 Indian sailors on board two ships have been released and will sail for home, bringing huge relief to their families.
Shipping Minister G K Vasan made the announcement in Chennai, saying the government secured the release of the sailors on board the two vessels due to coordinated efforts of the ministries of shipping, the external affairs, defence, home affairs, director general shipping and other agencies.
"I am very happy to announce the release of Indian seafarers. Due to coordinated actions of ministries of shipping, the external affairs, defence, home affairs, director general shipping and other agencies, on Friday, we could get release of two vessels MV Royal Grace hijacked in March 2012 and MT Smrini hijacked in May 2012," Vasan told reporters.
He said 17 sailors on MV Royal Grace and 11 on board MT Smrini would return home this week. Observing that piracy near coastal Somalia is a cause for concern, he said the government has been taking utmost care to deal with the issue. "Our primary concern is to bring back our sailors home safely."
Vasan pointed out that nine Indian sailors were still being held captive by Somalian pirates and the government would continue its efforts for ensuring their ‘safe passage’.