Friends and relatives of the sailors had recently taken out a march and were on a hunger strike urging the government to take immediate steps to ensure their release.

Seventeen Indian sailors in the chemical oil tanker Royal Grace, which was hijacked by Somalian pirates off the Oman coast last March, have been released.

Dibin, 22, son of Arangathu Paramabil Davis of Mapranam; Stanley, 22, son of Thelappilly Mangalath Vincent of Karuvannur; Arjun of Thiruvananthapuram; Maneesh of Kollam and Midhun of Ottappalam were among the 22 held by the pirates.

Friends and relatives of the sailors had recently taken out a march and were on a hunger strike urging the government to take immediate steps to ensure their release.

On Friday, relatives of Mr. Dinbin got a message regarding his release. It is learnt that the pirates released the hostages after receiving a ransom.

The sailors have been taken to Oman, their relatives said.

Families thank government

Our New Delhi Staff Reporter reports:

With news regarding the sailors’ release trickling in on Friday evening, the small group of parents and family members, who have been sitting on an indefinite protest in front of the Transport Bhavan here since early this week, heaved a sigh of relief.

Sushil Kumar, whose 23-year-old brother Saurav was among those kidnapped, said: “We have finally got some good news and we are now rushing back home to share it with others. We were told this evening that the crew have been freed.” He thanked the Indian government for its support and help in getting the sailors released. “ Some of the freed crew members called home and said they were headed home.”

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