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MV Suez sailors reach Delhi, families rejoice

June 24, 2011 - New Delhi

After 10 months of captivity by Somali pirates, six Indian sailors of Egypt-owned cargo ship MV Suez reached New Delhi on Friday.

The pirates released the crew, comprising six Indians, four Pakistanis, 11 Egyptians and one Sri Lankan after ransom of 2 million dollars was paid to them.

Families of the sailors, who gathered outside the airport expressed relief and joy

"I have had a lot of difficulties over the last one year. We tried a lot from our side, we also spoke to the government but nothing was done. All of us are very grateful to Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney. If he had not helped us, then no solution would have been found", said Madhu Sharma, wife of released hostage N.V. Sharma.

"My father would just say that he is fine and he would return soon. I have made greeting cards for my father," said Nikhil, son of one of the released hostages

"Today I am very happy that my son is returning after a year. I had lost all hope and was not sure if he would return or not. The government did not help us as such. My son said the pirates would beat the hostages and not give them anything to eat. On May 23, 2011, he called me. As soon as he spoke to me, they beat him up. He started crying and said something in English. So, after that I had lost all hope" said Surinder Kaur, mother of one of the released hostages,

The crew of the MV Suez was brought to 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 this week, but were delayed due to bad weather in the region.

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 hiccups, but they were sorted out.


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