Ministries, Navy and Other Agencies Make Discreet Efforts to Secure Release of Indian Personnel
The instances of piracy off the coast of Somalia have been a constant source of concern for the Government. The Ministry of Shipping, in close co-ordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Navy and other agencies has been making discreet efforts to secure the release of Indian maritime personnel.
So far, 242 Indian crew members on board merchant vessels of various flags have been hijacked by the Somali pirates. As a result of concerted efforts of the Government, in co-ordination with ship owners, managers, etc., 220 of them have been released and all efforts are being made to secure the release of the remaining 22 personnel. This was stated by the Union Shipping Minister Shri G.K. Vasan when a business delegation from USA led by Undersecretary to the Government of the United States of America, Mr. Sanchez met him in Chennai today. He further stated that India can explore the possibility of working together to counter the menace of piracy on the basis of the 2006 Indo-U.S. Framework for Maritime Security Cooperation which provides for expanding cooperation in areas such as counter-piracy and littoral security.
Naval Today Staff , February 21, 2012; Image: navy