Mumbai, Nov 16 : Somali pirates released a cargo ship 'Stolt Valor' hijacked by them in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday morning. The pirates had hijacked the ship on September 15.
All the 18 Indians crewmembers on board are safe according to Sunil Nayer, Public Relations Officer of National Union of Seafarers of India.
"I am very happy to tell you that all the sea farers on the board are safe, though medically a bit unfit because they did not get proper medical supplies. It will take another forty hours for them to reach the Gulf of Aden, the danger zone because there are more than one group of pirates there and it will take another 3-4 days for the ship to reach Indian port but meanwhile the families are very happy and it has been a group effort from National Union of Seafarers of India and the whole of the shipping fraternity who has come together for the issue of Stolt Valor. Finally it is a very happy news for the shipping fraternity we can very soon have the sea members with us," said Nayer.
Relatives of the hijacked Indians ship who had accused the Central government of not doing enough to rescue the crew however rejoiced the release of their relatives.
Seema Goyal, wife of Prabhat Goyal, captain of the ship who was running from pillar to post trying to meet different ministers till a few months back to secure the release of her husband expressed happiness that the crisis was finally resolved.
"Stolt Valor is released and I'm very happy about it. I really want to forget these 65 bad days which we have gone though," said Seema.
On the other hand R.C. Goyal father of Captain Prabhat Goyal said that the day his son returns it would be a festive time for him.
"I think today is great achievement for us but it is also a day of jubilation for us too. We are celebrating half-Diwali today and we will celebrate full-Diwali when our son (Prabhat Goyal) comes back," said Goyal.
The ship is owned by a Japanese company and managed by Fleet Marine Ltd in Mumbai. The hijackers had earlier demanded a ransom of six million dollars for the release of the crew and later it came down to 2.5 million dollar.
The waters off Somalia, which has been in anarchy and without central government since 1991, are considered one of the worlds most dangerous due to a proliferation of pirates.
Attackers generally use speedboats to surround and board vessels, often justifying their actions as measures against illegal fishing and toxic dumping.
The International Maritime Bureau reported more than 24 known attacks in the area between April and June, and more have been committed in recent months.
Maritime experts say many attacks go unreported along Somalia's 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) of coast, which is infested with pirates who operate high-powered speedboats and carry heavy machine guns and rocket launchers.