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Indian crew identified, safe

All the seven Indians on board MV Delight that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday have been identified and are safe, reports Aurangzeb Naqshbandi.

world Updated: Nov 21, 2008 00:58 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

All the seven Indians on board MV Delight that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday have been identified and are safe.

Rajeeb Lochan Behera, Kamaljeet Singh, Mahmood Aslam Lambade, Rafique Tafazzul, Shamsul Hassan Israr, Sheikh Abdul Jabbar and Clive Fernandes are among the Delight’s 25-member crew.

The Delight is registered in Hong Kong and owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Iran’s biggest shipping firm.

The Directorate General of Shipping said the Mumbai-based Wilhelmsen Ship Management had employed the Indian seafarers. The directorate said, “As of date, no contact has been established with the vessel.”

However, National Union of Seafarers of India spokesman Sunil Nair said the crewmembers were safe. “The owners are handling all the negotiations with the pirates,” he said, adding the ransom demanded by the pirates was yet to be disclosed.

The vessel, carrying 38,000 tonne of wheat, was heading for Bandar Abbas port in Iran from Kuwait when the armed pirates captured it off the Somalia coast.

Meanwhile, an anti-piracy watchdog has welcomed the destruction of a suspected Somali pirate vessel by Indian navy’s INS Tabar in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday evening.

The INS Tabar sank the pirate “mother ship” while patrolling 285 nautical miles (528 km) southwest of Salalah in Oman after it did not stop for investigation and instead opened fire.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur, said, “If all warships do this, it will be a strong deterrent.”