‘India not negotiating with Somali hijackers’

September 20th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 20 (IANS) Authorities are not involved in negotiations currently underway to secure release of the 18 Indian crewmembers on board the hijacked ship, MT Stolt Valor, taken by pirates off Somalia, a shipping official said Saturday.”We have got information that the hijackers have demanded a ransom of around Rs.60 million (around $1.50 million) but we have no further details,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The Japanese ship’s management company in Hong Kong has appointed a third party negotiator and the Indian authorities are also awaiting the outcome of the ransom negotiations, he said.

The authorities have also been assured that all the Indian crewmembers aboard the hijacked vessel are safe.

MT Stolt Valor, carrying a carrying a 24,000 tonnes consignment of oil products, was hijacked Monday from near the Gulf of Aden, and is currently reported to be anchored at a port on the eastern coast of Somalia.

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