Mother of Keralite hostage appeals to Govt to act fast

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Kochi, Oct 4 (UNI) The mother of a Keralite crew member aboard 'M T Stolt Valor', hijacked by pirates off Somalia last month, today appealed to the Centre to act fast to save the 18 Indian crew members aboard the ship.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Thankam Unnikrishnan, mother of 2nd Officer Ullas Krishnan, 22, said she had no contact with her son since the ship was hijacked on September 15.

''I have written to the President, Prime Minister, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony and the state leaders, including the Chief Minister, to do something immediately to save the crew members from any harm,'' she said.

Stating that the Hong Kong-based Fleet Ship Management, which was operating the ship, had pleaded helplessness in paying the huge ransom demanded by the pirates, Ms Thankam said it was time the Indian government stepped in to rescue the hostages.

''Going by the visuals on televison, we can see that the hostages are locked up in cramped conditions and there is a possibility of them running out of rations,'' she added.

A resident of Perinthalamanna in Malappuram district of Kerala, Ms Thankam said that her son had joined the ship just four months ago. Her husband is on board another ship in Madagascar.

''We are very worried about the safety of Indian crew members following the frequent instances of hijacking off Somalia,'' she said.

UNI ARC VV RJ KN1600

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