Indian vessel hijack: Family members express concern for crew safety

Published: Friday, May 14, 2010, 18:28 [IST]

New Delhi, May 14 (ANI): Family members of engineer Chirag Bari who is on the hijacked ship MT Marida Marguerite, have expressed deep concern about his safety.

On May 13, Somali pirates seized MT Marida Marguerite off the Gulf of Aden.

The vessel has 22-crew on board, including 19 Indians.

Speaking to ANI over phone, Bari's wife, Nisha, said though the shipping company is keeping the family updated about developments, the family is concerned about the safety of Bari and other members who are on board.

"The company is keeping us updated. But, we don't know why the pirates are not presenting their demands. We are really worried about his (Chirag's) safety," Nisha said.

Bari who is the sole breadwinner of the family, has married to Nisha two and half months ago.

He signed on with the OMCI Ship Management Pvt. Ltd on April 6 as third engineer. But unfortunately, within a month of his association, he has been abducted.

Nisha said the family is looking to government for help, and urged that the Centre negotiate for the hijacked ship's release.

" We don't know whom to contact. We are not politically strong. But, we are urging that the government, through the media, to step in to solve the hijack crisis," she said.

Nisha said the family is hoping for Chirag's safe return home.

" Ailing in-laws and myself looking for Chirag's safe release," she added.

With the seizure of the MT Marida Marguerite number of Indians held hostage by the pirates has gone up to 57 as 38 are already in their captivity for over a month.The MT Marida Marguerite is a chemical tanker with 22 crewmembers - 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Ukrainian.

The vessel, which was built in 2008, is a double hull tanker.

The tanker was en-route from Kandla in Gujarat to Antwerp in Belgium with approximately 11,000 MT of chemicals.

Meanwhile, the Shipping Directorate has established contacts with the managers of the vessel for regular updates and measures have been initiated for early and safe release of the crew and vessel.

The directorate has expressed confidence about resolving the matter in a couple of days. n the past negotiations involved owners, seafarers' bodies and pirates, without any government representative.

Somali pirates had seized 11 slow-moving vessels (dhow) with over 120 Indians on board over a month ago.

Of them, five vessels, including a dhow, and 38 Indians continued to be in their custody. epeated attacks on Indian vessels had also prompted the government to issue warning to dhows about the dangers in those waters, particularly along the sea-lanes of Salalah and Male.

The merchandise conducted on seas is worth about USD 110 billion annually, with Indians being the major players. (ANI)

 

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