Srinagar: Five Indian seamen have been taken hostage by Nigerian pirates and were demanding one million dollar for their release, reported The TribuneIndia.
One month had passed since the pirates took five Indian and others hostage, no efforts were being made by the Indian government, even though the pirates have scaled down their demand to half a million dollar.
Ankit Hooda from Rohtak district of Haryana, who is among the hostages informed his family that if their demands are not met they would be physically harmed.
Ankit was working as Ordinary Seaman (OS) on Greece motor tanker ship MT Apecus when pirates struck on the outer anchorage of Bonny island of Nigeria on April 19. The captain and six other crew members were taken hostage. Five of them are from India.
The pirates made Ankit call his family at Assan village to convey the message and then one of the pirates spoke to the family too. “Ankit informed us that in the absence of any communication from the ship owner or the Nigerian authorities, the pirates are getting restive and he and his colleagues are fearing for life,” The TribuneIndia has quoted his cousin Bharat Deshwal saying.
“Ankit also informed the family about the illness of two of his colleagues and how the food stocks with the pirates would last for just a week or so,” it reported.
After Ankit, one of the pirates also called from the same satellite phone and told the sailor’s family members that they had halved their demand and if it was not met even now, it would not be good for the families.
“The pirate told us that neither was the ship owner from Greece trying to contact them, nor anyone on behalf of the families,” Deshwal informed the newspaper.
He said though a month had passed since the pirates took Ankit and others hostage, no efforts were being made by the government.
“We have been trying to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, but have not been able to get an appointment. The High Commission in Nigeria had assured us that they were in touch with the ship owner and authorities, but the call from the pirates reveals that nothing is happening on the ground, ” he added.
Meanwhile, several friends and relatives of Ankit Hooda have planned to collect funds for his release, but their only concern is how they would be able to deliver the money.