Pirates on board the Turkish vessel MT Cotton have released all the 24 Indian crew members unharmed after holding them hostage for eight days, confirmed the Mumbai-based recruiting company V-Ships.
Now efforts are on to reach the vessel and the crew members, the sources said, adding the company is expected to hold a press conference in the evening to announce the happy news formally.
The ship, captained by Sishir Wahi, was hijacked on July 15 near Gabon, a tiny African country on the west coast, between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
The vessel carrying gasolene had sailed from Turkey to Port Gentil in Gabon. Six of the 24 crew members, including captain Wahi, are from West Bengal and neighbouring areas.
The Turkish owners of the ship have established communication with the vessel after the pirates released the crew members.
"We are all happy and relieved. We have received information that communication has been established with MT Cotton. All crew members are unharmed and have been released by the pirates. Our prime concern was the lives of the crew. We are trying to communicate with the family members of the crew," said captain Vaivab Dalvi, crew director of V-Ships.
"We are awaiting more details as to what happened and how the ship was hijacked. We are also waiting for the details as to how much cargo has been stolen," added Dalvi.
Family members of the crew including that of Wahi, who is a resident of Kolkata, are relieved and waiting waiting for the company to declare it officially in Mumbai. Sources say the company is expected to hold a press conference in the evening to announce it formally.