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Four Goan Seamen amongst 20 Sailors abducted by Pirates in West Africa are Safe

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Sea Pirates is the harsh reality most of the sailors working on the ships have to face sometimes or the other, and despite several cases of abductions, there is no permanent solution made till date by the international police known as Interpol. Recently the pirates have abducted four Goan seafarers amongst the twenty Indian Sailors. The report claims that the Goan Sailors are safe and negotiations with the Pirates to free them is underway. But is this the solution? 

As reported by The Outlook, In a letter to the Non-Resident Commissioner (Goa), a Goa government agency which looks after the affairs of Goan expats, a senior Indian High Commission official said that the commercial vessel MT Duke was attacked by pirates around 140 nautical miles off Togo on December 15.

“DG Shipping (Government of India) has confirmed that contact has been established between the concerned parties and the Indian nationals are reportedly safe. The Mission will continue to follow up on the issue,” Colonel Sachin Dubey, Defence Advisor, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Cameroon at the Indian High Commission in Abuja, said in his communication to the Goa NRI Commission.

Meanwhile, the NRI Commissioner, Goa Mr Narendra Sawaikar said that the commission had written a letter to the Indian High Commission in Abuja following the parents of four Goans sailors contacted him for the help. “We immediately got in touch with the Indian High Commission for assistance,” Sawaikar told IANS on Tuesday.

The Indian commission is in talks with the Nigerian Government to take up the matter on priority basis said Colonel Sachin Dubey, Defence Advisor, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Cameroon at the Indian High Commission in Abuja.     

“Once the information was received, while the incident took place off Lome, in Togo, the Mission proactively took up the matter vigorously with all concerned Nigerian authorities, in case the hostages were brought to Nigeria. The permanent secretary to the Nigeria Defence Minster responded that all naval commands have been alerted to the situation,” Dubey said.

According to the report published on the local daily Herald, four Goans who were recently appointed as new sailors by the shipping company called ‘Union Marine’ ship from which the pirates abducted the sailors.

Some of the family members of the Goan seafarers were called to the office of the hiring company V-shipping and were counselled and assured of the release of their dear ones. “Owners and managers are working closely with all the appropriate authorities and specialists to secure the safe and speedy release of the crew members being held, this being the utmost priority,” V Ships said in a statement.

This is not the first case of the kidnapping of the seafarers in the African waters. According to the report published in the Times of India, 18 Indian sailors were abducted by the Pirates. On December 3, crude oil tanker Nave Constellation, with 26 crew members, was attacked by armed pirates in the vicinity of the Gulf of Guinea, 77 nautical miles off Bonny Island, en route to India. The vessel was carrying two million barrels of oil.  

Sources said the 19 seafarers were taken off the vessel and were held captive at another location. Seven seamen remained on board and were instructed to take the crude oil tanker to a safe position and await the arrival of a security vessel and other support staff.

After 18 days in captivity, 19 seafarers, including a Mumbai-based shipping officer, who had been abducted from a crude oil tanker off Nigeria earlier this month, were released on Saturday.

Details about the terms of release or whether the ransom was paid has not been provided to the media. The seafarers, 18 of whom are Indians and one is Turkish, are undergoing medical tests and debriefing, following which they will return to their families. As some of the seafarers are sick, it may take some time before they return to home, sources said.

The kidnapping is an ongoing process and since many Goans are working on the ships across the world it is an issue of concern for the Goa Government. The authorities have asked the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to intervene into the matter and help the Goan sailors free from the captivation. 

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