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Feb 19, 2010 at 11:53am IST

Indian crew of hijacked ship return home

Mumbai: Four months after a cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates, its Indian crew members are finally back home. 24 members of the crew of the MV Al Khaliq have returned to Mumbai.

It had been a harrowing four months for the families of the 24 crew members of MV Al Khaliq, the cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates near Seychelles.

Their wait ended after the ship owners reportedly paid the pirates a huge ransom of $3.1 million to get them released.

"They had kept me in one room and the crew in another," revealed Captain Riteshkumar Sudan.

The Panamanian-flagged ship with a crew of 24 Indians and two Burmese was seized on October 22 when it was heading to Mombasa with a cargo of wheat.

The crew were separated from the captain and often physically assaulted.

"I want to thank the ship's owner for securing our release," Motorman Lokesh Subbe Gowda said.

But all the ordeal is now over and the crew members are back with their families.