Somali pirates release 11 Indians

Kottayam: Eleven Indians of a cargo ship, hijacked by Somali pirates 11 months ago was released on Wednesday.

Babu, father of Roji V John, second officer trainee in the ship and a native of nearby Pathanamthitta district told PTI that authorities of Rack International company, which owns the ship handed over the ransom amount yesterday.

Babu, who travelled to Dubai about a month back and returned on march seven said "today we received the phone call from John and e-mail from the authorities about his release.

They will reach Kenya and from there to Mumbai within a couple of days", he said.

John was part of the 26 member crew of M V Rack Africana which was hijacked on april 10,2010 while on its way to Morali in Africa. He had joined the ship as part of his Bsc Nautical Science Course two years ago.

The pirates, numbering about 25, were demanding a ransom of seven million US dollars. "Negotiations were going on all these days and they might have reduced the amount little bit", he said.

Babu said "yesterday the authorities who had flown in a chartered flight dropped the bundle of notes covered with a plastic bag in the sea as per the instructions of pirates who arrived the spot in a speed boat. It takes minimum seven to eight hours for them to count and divide the booty", he said

The pirates accompany the ship, carrying the crew members upto the border where the ship of Indian Navy anchored with a view to protect them from the attack of other persons, he said.

The crew also includes another malayali V Vishnu, native of Thiruvananthapuram.