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Gujarat seeks central help to free hijacked vessels


Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government has written to the central government seeking its intervention to free the eight cargo vessels with over 150 Indians on board hijacked by Somalian pirates.

The state cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said here Wednesday that he had written a letter on behalf of the state government to the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, with a copy to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, requesting the centre to take necessary steps for freeing the hijacked ships.

The state government has also sought details of the Indian ships, most of them from Gujarat, and the whereabouts of the crew members allegedly kept in captivity.

He said of the eight cargo vessels, largely medium wooden cargo vessels, reportedly hijacked, seven were from Gujarat – three from Mandvi, one each from Bhuj and Gandhidham, all in Kutch district, and one each from Veraval and Porbandar. The seven ships have over 140 crew members from Gujarat, many of them from Kutch district.

While most of the ships were hijacked and kept at some unknown point on the high seas for the last five days or so, the latest to be hijacked was another ship on Tuesday which was registered in Dubai but carried over 20 crew members from Gujarat.