New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) It was a joyful reunion with their families for rescued Indian sailors who returned home Monday after long months in the captivity of Somalian pirates.
Most of the 28 rescued Indian sailors, who were on board MT Royal Grace and MT Smyrni, returned home to India Monday.
The Indian seafarers had been held captive by Somalian pirates for about one year.
“Most of the rescued sailors have arrived in the country, while some from MT Royal Grace are waiting for the arrival of a replacement crew before they can fly back to their families in India,” a source said.
The 17 Indian seafarers on board MT Royal Grace were in captivity since March 2, 2012, while 11 Indian seafarers on board MT Smyrni, a crude oil tanker, were in captivity since May 10 last year.
“I have forgotten everything, all I remember is that I’m going to meet my family,” rescued sailor Siddharth was quoted by a TV channel as saying.
“We are very happy. After 10 months we are arriving home,” said an elated Mukesh, who arrived in Delhi Monday.
MT Royal Grace reached Salalah port in Muscat on March 13 and MT Smyrni docked there the next day. Both the ships were received by officials of the Indian embassy in Oman.
Embassy officials arranged for doctors to conduct medical check-up and provide necessary assistance to those who needed it. All crew members were also provided new clothing, toiletries and shoes.
Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan had announced last week that the two ships had been freed from pirates, following “coordinated actions of ministries of shipping, external affairs, defence, home affairs, Director General Shipping and other important agencies”. He declined to reveal details.