April 9th, 2012
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Pirates hijack oil tanker with 17 Indians

piracyNew Delhi: 17 Indians who were on-board of a Dubai owned Nigeria-bound oil tanker had been captured by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman more than a month ago, however their families were informed about the capture only few days back.

The MT Royal Grace, a chemical tanker, on its maiden voyage was hijacked on March 2 after it set off from a Sharjah port for Nigeria. 22 crew members including 17 Indians have been held hostages since then. Recruitment agents said talks were on between the pirates and shipping company for the crew’s release.

“On March 2, we were alerted that there was an attack on the ship and later it was confirmed that the ship had been taken by pirates on March 4. As per information which we have received from Dubai, the ship was reportedly held off the coast near the town of Garacad in Somalia,” an official said. Somali pirates now hold 21 ships, 289 hostages. The families have now appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs to get the crew members released. 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.



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