Somali pirates' deadline expires soon | india | Hindustan Times
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Somali pirates' deadline expires soon

india Updated: Oct 16, 2008 00:11 IST
Abhinav Madhwal

Anxiety must be mounting for the families of the 18 Indians aboard the Stolt Valor as 24 hours of the Somali pirates' 48-hour deadline for payment of ransom went by with no solution in sight on Wednesday.

The pirates had issued a 48-hour ultimatum on Tuesday for payment of $2 million for the Japanese ship and its 22 crew members.

The ship carrying chemicals is anchored on the pirate port of Ayl off the central coast of Somalia. It was hijacked in the Red Sea by about 35 heavily armed pirates on September 15 while it was on its way to Mumbai from Aden.

Talking to HT on the phone from Delhi, Seema Goyal, wife of the ship's captain Prabhat Kumar Goyal, said the shipping company is still saying that negotiations are going in the right direction.

With mounting tension, Seema Goyal is now camping in Delhi to put pressure on politicians and the bureaucrats.

She met Shipping Secretary A.P.V.N. Sharma and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Tuesday. “I am getting assurances from all sides but they are not enough. I want concrete action and the release of my husband and the crew,” she said.

"The government should take up the matter on top priority as a humanitarian crisis and intervene. We must act fast, as time is slipping away," she said.

Goyal also said she had been trying to fix a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who seems to be very busy right now.

“I believe that once I meet her, Sonia would be supportive in the matter and would pressurise the government to take concrete steps.”