Trying to contact pirates with 7 Indians: Ship owners

April 17th, 2011 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) With Somali pirates still holding seven Indian hostages even after the ransom was paid, ship owners Sunday said that they have not heard anything from the pirates after the last agreement and were trying hard to get in touch with them.

“We haven’t been able to contact them after the last agreement. We are making every possible attempt to get in touch with these people, but they haven’t got back to us. We are only getting the news from the media,” Sunil Puri from OMCI Shipmanagement, managers of the ship MV Asphalt Venture, told NDTV.

Somali pirates Saturday released the Panama-flagged tanker with only eight of the 15-member all-Indian crew.

“We did everything possible for their release under the norms. This situation is completely unprecedented. They haven’t got back to us we are trying out level best through Indian and international authorities to make contact with these people and secure the release of the people. It is paramount,” he said.

Puri said the original deal with pirates was that they will hand over all hostages after getting the money.

“We are in close contact with Indian government and Indian Navy. We won’t be able to share more details considering the security of hostages,” the official added.

According to Somalia Report, a news service from African nation, the pirates were reportedly angry at the $3.5 million ransom amount, which was lower than what they expected and were holding the remaining crew members to extract more money.

The tanker was hijacked by the pirates Sep 28 last year, and had been moored some five miles off Harardhere in central Somalia.

The Indian Navy has captured 120 Somali pirates during it anti-piracy operations in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

The biggest seizure was of 61 Somalia pirates last month after a mother ship, Vega 5, was apprehended.

According to latest figures, 53 Indian sailors are being held hostage on five different ships. Of them, 17 have been held for the longest on MT Savina Caylyn, an Italian ship which was captured Feb 8, 2010.

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