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Himachal engineer set free by pirates, reaches home

india Updated: Jan 04, 2010 20:28 IST

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An Indian engineer from Himachal Pradesh, who was held in captivity in a Singaporean ship by Somali pirates for 73 days, on Monday reached his home near here, his family members said.

Raghubir Singh Pathania reached Fatehpur village after being set free from 73-day captivity by the Somali pirates, his father Pritam Singh told reporters.

He said Pathania was in perfect health and his Singapore-based shipping company, Pacific International Ltd. (PIL), helped rescuing him and other hostages by paying ransom.

Pathania, the ship's chief engineer, was aboard MV Kota Wajar that was hijacked by the pirates on October 15 along with its crew.

"The hostages fed on potatoes and wheat flour during captivity. The pirates became friendly with them after some days. Most of the pirates were Muslims and they were very particular about performing their religious prayers," Pritam Singh said.

The cargo ship, with 21-member crew, including two Indians, was hijacked somewhere north of the Seychelles. It was released off the coast of Somalia on December 28.

A ransom of around four million dollars was paid to the pirates, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

"A helicopter dropped the ransom money on to the ship. We have received four million dollars," a pirate named Hassan was quoted as saying.