No Other Solution

Despite having refused until now to negotiate any similar arangement, India may after all consider a prisoner swap. According to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy “There appears to be no other solution to the hostage crisis”.

Somali pirates may be swapped for Indian hostages

KOCHI: The Centre may consider a proposal to release some Somali pirates detained by India for getting the release of seven Indians being held captive by them since September 28, 2010.

“There appears to be no other solution to the hostage crisis, and Centre is actively considering this,” chief minister Oommen Chandy said here after talks with external affairs minister S M Krishna on Monday.

The ship, MV Asphalt Venture, which was hijacked by pirates from Kenyan waters, was later released after the owners paid ransom. Eight crewmen were also released then. But the pirates held seven officers, including two Keralites, on board. However, it is not clear where the Indian hostages are being kept.

The chief minister had been taking up the issue with the Centre even when he was the leader of the Opposition. He had supported Mercy George, wife of one of the hostages, George Joseph from Koothattukulam, in taking up the case with various authorities. Mercy and her daughter had pleaded with Krishna also to intervene in the case.

The external affairs minister said the Centre had been taking various steps to contain the scourge of piracy.

Source: The Times of India

ABOUT THE MV ASPHALT VENTURE

The general cargo ship MV ASPHALT VENTURE was released from pirate control on 15th April 2011. She had been under pirate control for 199 days.

The Panama flagged vessel, had been pirated on 28 September 2010 approximately 100 nautical miles South-East of DAR ES SALAAM in the Somali Basin, the vessel was on route to Durban when it was attacked.

It is understood that 7 members of the original crew of 15 were not released with the vessel and that they are still being held in ashore in Somalia.

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