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Released sailors refuse to return till colleagues freed
Mumbai, Apr 17 (IANS):
Published on 17 Apr. 2011 10:10 PM IST
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The eight Indian sailors released from the captivity of Somali pirates have refused to return to India until their remaining seven colleagues are also released, an official said here Sunday.
“They have decided to express solidarity with their remaining seven colleagues and demanded that they should also be released simultaneously,” National Union of Seafarers of India general secretary A.G. Serang told IANS.
Terming it as a “rare act of courage,” Serang urged for renewed efforts by Indian and international agencies to secure release of all the hostages, including Indians, in captivity of the pirates.
High-ranking sources at the Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS) here said that they had no information about the current status of the hostage crisis involving Indian sailors and Somali pirates.
An Indian Navy official said that a vessel is giving cover to the pirate vessel where the hostages are being held at a Somali port to ensure that there is no “re-hijack” of the Indian sailors.
Meanwhile, the owners of MV Asphalt Venture Sunday appealed to Somali pirates to keep to their word and release the vessel’s remaining seven Indian sailors. Eight Indian crew members were freed by the pirates a day earlier.
“The owners of the Asphalt Venture have expressed deep disappointment over the pirates reneging on their word. This is despite meeting all demands of the negotiated settlement and paying the mutually agreed ransom,” an official statement issued by the company said.
The tanker was hijacked by the pirates Sep 28 last year.

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