3 rescued sailors return home

March 16th, 2011 - 11:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) After being held hostage for nearly 11 months, three of the 13 sailors freed from Somali pirates’ captivity returned to Mumbai Wednesday.

“I am glad to be back. It was a terrible experience,” said A. Kotwal, one of the sailors who returned.

“But from what we could figure out, the pirates had a big boss who operated from outside Somalia,” Kotwal added.

Kotwal’s mother could not hide her happiness at seeing her son back home.

“At last the agony has ended. I don’t know how to say what I went through in the last 11 months,” she said in a choked voice.

While three sailors landed in Mumbai in the morning, the others were expected arrive in Delhi late Wednesday.

The ship Rak Afrikana was hijacked by the pirates April 11, 2010, about 280 nautical miles west of the Seychelles.

The ship later developed a technical snag following which the pirates had to abandon the vessel. The crew then sent a distress signal and a Spanish naval ship Eu Navfor rescued them.

In a major breakthrough in its anti-piracy operations, the Indian Navy Monday arrested 61 heavily armed pirates and rescued 13 sailors from captivity in the Arabian Sea, about 600 nautical miles west of India.

The operation came days after India said it was tweaking its navy’s rules of engagement against pirates in the Indian Ocean to widen the scope of its offensive operations within the framework of international laws of the seas.

The Indian Navy has sustained its anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008.

The navy apprehended two pirate mother ships in January and February in the Arabian Sea and 43 pirates were arrested.

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