After nearly three years, five Indian sailors aboard the MV Iceberg 1 that was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden in 2010 were rescued on Sunday. They were among 22 sailors aboard the hijacked ship.
The government of Somalia's Puntland region freed the sailors after a 13-day battle with the pirates near the coastal village of Garaa'ad. The rescued sailors have been taken to Garoowe, the capital of Puntland.
"We fought with the pirates for two weeks and finally rescued all 22 sailors. They are safe and doing well. Medical aid has been provided as they have shown signs of physical and mental trauma," said Abdrirashid Abbas Ali, project coordinator of Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), which carried out the rescue operation.
Somali pirates captured MV Iceberg 1 off the coast of Yemen in March 2010 while it was heading to the United Arab Emirates.
While speaking to HT, Ali said Puntland's maritime troops began the operation on December 10, when they surrounded the ship and managed to kill three pirates and captured three others during the battle. He said the freed sailors would be returning to their home countries soon. Currently, Indian and Somalian governments are making arrangements to bring back the rescued hostages from Puntland. However, no date has been fixed.
"We are expecting them to come as early as possible," said captain Khatre from the directorate general of shipping. The rescued hostages include two Pakistanis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, eight Yemenis and a Filipino.