Govt making efforts to secure release of 53 seafarers

New Delhi: Eleven Indians, who were released by Somali pirates after 11 months of captivity, have reached home and the government is making efforts to secure early release of the remaining 53.

"I am happy to inform that 11 Indians, held hostage along with others on MV RAK Africana, have been released and have returned to India," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday said in the Lok Sabha.

He said the government was in touch with concerned countries in the region and the ship owners, to ensure the safe release of the remaining hostages.

"Sea piracy is a complex international problem," Krishna today said while responding to concerns expressed by Lok Sabha members over the issue during a debate on the Demands for Grants of his Ministry.

He pointed out that 175 Indians had been taken hostage by the pirates over the last few years.

Of them, 122 have been released and the remaining continued to be hostages on five ships, Krishna said.

Krishna agreed with members that his Ministry was understaffed and said that a three-pronged strategy had been adopted to meet the shortfall.

This includes direct recruitment through UPSC, fast- tracking of IFS-B and attracting officers from other departments.