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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Fate of Indian crew aboard MT Cotton still unknown

Ravik Bhattacharya , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 17, 2013
First Published: 14:03 IST(17/7/2013) | Last Updated: 14:06 IST(17/7/2013)

Family members of the crew of MT Cotton which was hijacked by pirates near Gabon are now looking up to the Indian Government to for the rescue of their near and dear ones.

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Family members have passed on details of the crew to the external affairs ministry seeking help. The worried family members received no news of the crew even on Wednesday as their fate hang in a balance.

“What can I say? I am exhausted. There is no news of my father or anyone else from any source so far. We have forwarded the details of the crew and ship to the external affairs ministry and are waiting for a response. We want the Indian government to step in and bring back the crew,” said Richa Wahi, daughter of captain Sishir Wahi who is among the 24 Indian crew aboard the ship.

“There is no news of my nephew who was on that ship. By brother is in Delhi and he is trying his best. We are all worried and our priority now is to know that the crew is well and to bring them back home,” Nita Kakkar, a resident of Jaipur, told HT

Another of the crew has been identified as Jinnat Hassan (22) of Malda, who is one of the six from West Bengal and neighbouring states. On MT Cotton it was Hassan’s first on hand experience on a ship.

Meanwhile, sources in V Ship the recruiting company for MT Cotton stated that no ransom demands have been put up.

They are hoping that the pirates, with its usual modus operendi of hijacking and looting cargo and other valuables will leave the crew unharmed. The company officials are keeping in touch with Turkish owners of the ship.

External Affairs ministry sources reveal they are already in touch with the Indian embassy in the region, especially in Abuja to try and get information regarding the ship and the crew.

“We do not have an Embassy in Gabon. But we have Embassies in Abuja (Nigeria) and Kinshasa (Congo). We got information that the ship has been hijacked. We are trying to get more details,” said a source.

MT Cotton, a tanker owned by a Turkish company and captained by Wahi, traveled from Turkey to Port Gentil near Gabon in West Africa. All contact was lost with the ship on July 15.

Calls were made from the recruiting company in India to the family members of the crew including the Wahi family stating that the ship has hijacked by pirates.


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