Somali pirates have released a hijacked ship after taking a hefty ransom but kept back seven Indians among the 15-member crew who were taken hostage last year, officials and the owners of the ship said on Saturday.
One of the pirates told The Associated Press news agency that this was being done in retaliation to the Indian Navy arresting more than 100 Somali pirates over the past few months.
The pirate, Hassan Farah, said pirates in stronghold of Haradhere in Somalia had taken a collective decision not to release the Indian crew members of MT Asphalt Venture. “We decided to keep the Indians because India is holding our colleagues,’’ Farah said. “We released the other crew members who sailed away from our coast. We will keep these Indians until the Indians release our colleagues,” he said.
The “shocking development”, which reached the Indian shores late Friday night, has not gone down well as Director General of Shipping Satish Agnihotri said, “This is the first time in the history of shipping that a hostage situation has continued after the ransom was paid and this will now change everything.”