Eleven Indian sailors and 10 other crew members on board a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in April last year have been released, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said Wednesday night.
The Indians were on board the ship RAK Africana, the foreign secretary said in her Twitter account. However, 53 Indian sailors on board other hijacked ships are still in captivity, she tweeted.
"11 Indian sailors on ship RAK Africana are released by Somali pirates. They have been picked up by Spanish naval ship in vicinity - r safe.
"Afrikana engines were not working. Hence Spanish vessel in vicinity was requested through our Navy and Consulate in Dubai to help.
"Ship owned by Seychelles co. Flew St. Vincent flag. Of 21 crew members, 11 were Indians. Negotiations on release were delicate & prolonged."
"Still 53 Indian sailors in hands of pirates - all seized with other nationalities also from foreign owned ships. No Indian ship seized."
National Union of Sea Farers of India General Secretary Abdul G. Serang also confirmed the news. However, he said he did not know when the Indians would be brought to India.
MV Rak Africana was seized approximately 280 nautical miles west of the Seychelles on April 11, 2010 with 23 crew members on board.