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Krishna relieved at safe return of Indian sailors, appreciates Pak assistance

June 24, 2011 - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has expressed relief about the safe return of six Indian sailors and appreciated Pakistan's role in facilitating their release along with 16 others who were captured by Somali pirates.

In a statement, Krishna said: "The six Indian sailors, who were in captivity of Somali pirates abroad MV Suez, are now headed home from Karachi. We are relieved that their ordeal has ended and they would soon be safely back with their families. We appreciate the timely help extended to them and sailors of other countries, by the Pakistani navy."

"However let us not forget that the ordeal of over five hundred sailors from across the world, who are still in captivity of the pirates, is not yet over. The scourge of piracy requires a well coordinated response by all entities, especially navies of more than two dozen nations that provide security to sea faring vessels in piracy infested waters," the statement added.

The six Indian sailors of Egypt-owned cargo ship MV Suez were released by Somali pirates following 10 months in captivity. They are expected to arrive in New Delhi on Friday.

The MV Suez's 22-member crew had reached Karachi on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the crew was transferred to Pakistani naval ship PNS Zulfiqar from the PNS Babar. They were expected to reach Karachi earlier than Thursday, but were delayed due to bad weather in the region.

The crew, including four Pakistanis, 11 Egyptians and a Sri Lankan,were taken on board the PNS Babar after the MV Suez ran out of fuel and started sinking.

The Pakistan Navy had launched the Operation Umeed-e-Nuh (New Hope) to rescue the crew after MV Suez captain Wasi Hasan requested the evacuation of his crew to save their lives.

On June 17, the ship's fuel was exhausted while it was 100 nautical miles short of the Omani port of Salalah.

A tug was arranged for towing the vessel to Salalah, but it too developed a defect and the towing plan was abandoned.

There were other initial hiccups, but it was sorted out.


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