Hijacked ship with Indian crew on board freed (Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, May 23 (IANS) A ship with 10 Indian crew members aboard, hijacked off the coast of Somalia last week, was released Friday afternoon. The vessel is headed towards the African nation’s capital Mogadishu, and the crew are unharmed, officials said. “The M.V. Victoria was released at 12.50 p.m. today (Friday) Somalia time (3.20 p.m. IST) and is now headed towards Mogadishu,” Andrew Mwangura, representing a Kenyan association for workers in the marine industry, told IANS Friday from Mombasa, Kenya.

The ship was hijacked early May 10 morning, and anchored at the small coastal village of Murgane, 500 nautical miles north of Mogadishu.

“All the crew members are safe and the cargo is intact,” said Mwangura, programme coordinator of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Programme. Two armed personnel assigned by the Somali cargo consignment authorities are accompanying the ship.

However, he could not say whether any ransom has been paid for the release of the ship and the crew.

The vessel, owned by the United Arab Emirates-based Marwan Shipping company and flying the Jordanian flag, is carrying 21 crew members, of whom 10 are Indians. The others are from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Myanmar and Tanzania.

The Indian crew members are: Uttam Bhattacharjee, Sombir Kumar, Jayeshmukar Tandela, Naresh Tandel, Akhilesh Singh, Sadashiv Yadav, Chandrakant Tandel, Iman Ghosh, Leslye Anselmo Gomes and Jaivindh Jose R.

The captain of the ship is a Pakistani, Master A.A. Siddiqui, and Chief Officer is S. Nayyar Q. Naqvi. Other crew members are: Tanzanian chief engineer H.S. Hassan, second engineer Khin Maung Win, third engineer Aung Ko Latt (both from Myanmar), Abul Kasem, Mohammed Absar (both from Bangladesh), Mohammed M. Abdallah (Tanzania), Vincent Onyango, Juma Juma H. Mohoru and Abdalla Omar Ali (all from Kenya).

The ship, headed from Mumbai in India, was carrying 4,200 tonnes of sugar donated by Denmark to war-torn Somalia as aid when it was seized 40 nautical miles off Mogadishu.

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