Twelve persons of other nationalities were also released. A source said that the ship ‘MV Rak Afrikana’ and its crew members have been freed but the ship is still in the Somali waters. The ship has developed some technical snag and will take some time to sail again.
Earlier in the day the leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, following which External Affairs Minister S M Krishna assured the House that the government was doing everything possible for their release.
“Their safe and early release is our highest priority … We are doing all that we can. We are in touch with the ship owners. We are depending upon ship owners, as is done in most cases, to negotiate with the pirates,” he said.
Not satisfied with the response, Swaraj led a walkout of BJP, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal members charging the government with showing “helplessness” in the matter.
Krishna said there was a transitional government in Somalia and “we have taken up the issue with the President of that government and he has assured us all help.”
He said, Somali pirates had made 79 Indians hostage and seven ships were in their custody. Krishna also said, he held talks with the Egyptian Ambassador in India for securing the release of eight Indian nationals as the deadline set by the pirates, expires today. He said, discussions are also on with the owner of the ship who is an Egyptian national.