MV Victoria, carrying 4,200 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Somalia, which was captured on May 17 by pirates, was released on Friday morning. All 23 crew members, including 10 Indians, are safe.
Their release was confirmed by Captain M.M. Saggi, nautical advisor to the Centre.
“The ship is sailing towards Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, about 400 nautical miles away from where they were being held. It will take at least four days to reach,” said Andrew Mwangura, head of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Program.
Two armed guards are now on the ship to ensure its safe passage. “They were allowed onboard once the pirates disembarked as a sign of good faith,” said Mwangura.
“The ship was released soon because it was linked to a powerful Somali businessman. Else, pirates tend to keep sailors captive for up to 400 days,” said Mwangura. “We haven’t heard of the ransom amount yet.”
An officer at the Indian Director-General of Shipping said: “There will be an inquiry into whether the sailors were illegally recruited and why the vessel was not insured.”