ibnlive » World

Apr 09, 2012 at 01:34pm IST

Somali pirates hijack vessel with 17 Indians on board

Mumbai: Somalian pirates have hijacked a Dubai-owned Nigeria-bound vessel and taken 22 crew members including 17 Indians hostage.

The MT Royal Grace, a chemical tanker was hijacked on March 2 after it set off from a Sharjah port for Nigeria.

Three Nigerians, one Pakistani and a Bangladeshi are also on board the MT Grace.

Reports say the families of the crew members were not informed by the ship owner about the hijacking. The families have appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs to get the crew members released.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs has said, "We are aware of this situation. We are pursuing this through our various missions. But the pirate issue is handled by an inter-ministerial group headed by the Shipping Ministry."

This comes even as MV Iceberg-I with six Indian sailors on board remains in the pirates' captivity for two years.

Taken captive in March 2010, the cargo ship MV Iceberg-I's owner has stopped negotiations with the pirates. He has also not paid a single penny to the families of the sailors.

The incident raises certain big questions:

- Is there no solution to the menace of Somalian pirates?

- Do the Shipping Ministry or the MEA have any answer to this menace?

- Why is the MEA not taking a stand on the issue?

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