All 16 Indian sailors aboard hijacked vessel releasedMarch 22nd, 2009 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, March 22 (IANS) All the 16 Indian sailors aboard a vessel hijacked by Somali pirates Saturday have been released, the Directorate General of Shipping said here Sunday.
All the crew members aboard the MSV Al Rafiquel, which was hijacked off the coast of Somalia around 10.30 a.m. (Indian Standard Time) Saturday, were released around 6.30 p.m., according to a statement released by the directorate.
All the 16 sailors are safe and the vessel is proceeding to Mogadishu, its next port of call, the directorate said.
The vessel, carrying a cargo of wheat, refined oil and other items, was hijacked by the pirates, who beat up the crew and looted them of their personal belongings like mobile phones. The pirates also took away five barrels of petrol and 20 barrels of diesel from the vessel.
Indian maritime authorities alerted the Indian Navy and other forces operating in the Gulf of Aden area about the hijack.