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Pirates free one of eight Indian boats

Source: PTI
April 03, 2010 20:47 IST
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A week after seizing eight Indian vessels with about 100 sailors on board, Somalian pirates have released one of the boats along with 15 people on board.

India has approached Somalian government for help to ensure the release of the remaining dhows and around 85 Indians still in the captivity of pirates.

The spree of hijackings over the last one week has triggered concerns as the incidents took place quite away from the Gulf of Aden near the Somalian coast, which is notorious for piracy.

The eight Indian dhows, slow moving vessels, with about 100 sailors on board, were captured by the pirates on March 27-28.

One of those, with 15 sailors on board, has been released and is on its way to India, president of the Kutch Vahanvati Association, Kasam Ali Bholim said in Ahmedabad today.

The vessel 'Krishna Jyot', which is registered in Veraval in Gujarat, has been released by Somalian pirates as there was not much fuel in the dhow, he said.

He said the association has not had any communication about other dhows and hostages.

Sailors of the released boat informed the Association when they came to Socotra Island off the coast of Somalia after they were released, Bholim said, adding it was at present near Socotra Island close to Somalia for re-fuelling.

Sources in Delhi said the ministry of external affairs has sought the help from Somalia and is working with other countries to see an end to piracy.

The merchandise conducted on seas is worth about $ 110 billion annually, with Indians being the major players.

India has positioned a naval warship in the Gulf of Aden region since October 2008 to provide escort to Indian merchant ships. However, the latest hijackings took place far away from the Gulf of Aden, indicating that the pirates are operating much beyond.

Sources said there were indications that the pirates were operating in south of the Indian Ocean as Maldives has spotted some of them.
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