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Pirates strike again

india Updated: Jan 17, 2009 16:07 IST
Bhavika Jain
Bhavika Jain
Hindustan Times
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With the Stolt Valor hostage drama involving Indians still fresh, pirates off the coast of Kenya have hijacked another ship with three Indians on board.

The Kenyan fishing vessel MV Alpha Manyara with an Indian captain and an engineer besides another Indian crew on board, was hijacked on January 9.

There are 11 people on board the ship and the pirates are holding three Indians hostage after setting free eight Kenyan sailors. The Indian hostages have been identified as Theresiya Fernando from Tutticorin, Palaswamy Sarvanan Anand from Tamil Nadu and Sebastian Anthony from Kerala.

An official from the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), on condition of anonymity, confirmed the hijack. “It’s a fishing boat which has been operating as a Kenyan boat for many months,” he said. He said Indian ships deployed in the Gulf of Aden did not go for patrolling near the Kenyan coast.

George, brother of one of the hostages Palaswamy Sarvanan said, “Among the 11-member crew, three were Indians and the rest were Kenyans. Only the Indians have been taken hostage.”

“We were informed about the incident a day after the vessel was hijacked. After that, we have not heard from the company or the government. The company has declined to pay any ransom,” he added. Abdul Gani, General Secretary of NUSI said, “The police is investigating the case and the Indian high commission is looking into it.”

Bobby, brother of Sebastian Anthony said the pirates have demanded a huge sum as ransom. He said he had approached the offices of the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. Stolt Valor owned by a Japanese company and carrying 18 Indian sailors, was released on November 16 by the Somalian pirates after the owners paid a huge ransom.

(With Agency inputs)