The Kerala High Court, on Friday, directed the Union Ministry of External Affairs to file an affidavit detailing the steps taken to get a Keralite sailor held captive by Somali pirates released.

The court issued the directive when a writ petition filed by Shobha Krishnan of Pathanamthitta, wife of T.B. Unnikrishnan, the sailor, came up for hearing. According to her, her husband was the second officer of MT Asphalt Venture. The bitumen tanker vessel was reportedly hijacked off the Tanzania coast by the pirates on September 28, 2010. The vessel was on its voyage from Mombasa in Kenya to Durban in South Africa when it was captured by the pirates. Even though the ship and eight members of the crew were let off in April last year, Unnikrishnan remained in custody of the pirates, she said.

The shipping company said it had been informed that the pirates wanted the fishermen detained by the Indian Navy back home. According to the pirates, the Indian Navy had illegally captured poor Somali fishermen who were earning their living off the sea. As many as 120 Somali pirates had been detained in .

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