New Delhi: The wait is finally over for most of the Indian sailors of vessel ships Royal Grace and Smyni. Thirteen of the 28 Indian seafarers rescued from Somali pirates after their vessels were hijacked in 2012 has reached India on Monday.
Expressing happiness to have finally reached home after a year of captivity, Saurabh Kumar said, "We suffered too much. There was physical torture. The somalians were hell on us and no one should go back."
Kumar further said, "The Indian government didn't help. Leader of the ship told us this, he said that they were letting us go for free." The other five of the 28 Indian sailors are also scheduled to reach the New Delhi airport on Monday.
The return of the sailors is being seen as a significant milestone in India's war against piracy.
Seventeen Indian seafarers on board the MT Royal Grace have been in captivity of pirates since March 2, 2012 and 11 Indian seafarers on board MT Smyrni were in captivity since May 10, 2012. The remaining sailors are also expected to return India as soon as their replacements arrive in Muscat.
"The whole experience to out into words is very hard because what we suffered... to tell everything... people wouldn't want to join us. I would say its good that the company supported us a lot and never let our hopes down. I have been waiting for the last 10 months to get a reunion with my family and my two kids," another sailor Devender Singh said.
Both the ships were received by officials of the Indian Embassy in Oman. Indian embassy officials had arranged for doctors to conduct medical checkup and provide necessary assistance to a few who needed assistance. All crew members were provided new clothing, toiletries and shoes by the Embassy and were provided opportunities to speak with their family members.
Passports, where required, exit permits from Omani authorities and necessary ticketing arrangements have been made by the Embassy of India in Muscat, they said. The government has been working assiduously to ensure release of Indian nationals in captivity of pirates and had been pursuing the matter at various levels and in different countries, they said. They, however, did not divulge details of how the government managed to secure their release.
Indian government officials have termed the development as a milestone in the war against piracy. There are eight more Indian sailors of MT Asphalt Venture and MV Al Bedo in captivity.