Hostages rescued from the ship to be interrogated

The hostages on board Prantalay 14, who were rescued by the Navy and the Coast Guard on January 28 near the Lakshadweep islands, were brought here on Monday and handed over to the Yellow Gate police station.

The 15 pirates apprehended in that operation were remanded in seven days' judicial custody by a local court on Monday, after having been brought to Mumbai a week ago. They have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating Indian laws and acting against Indians.

Police said that the hostages would be interrogated before being sent back to their countries.

“They were brought here from Kochi on Monday. We will interrogate them because they are the witnesses, and then decide when to send them back to their countries,” Khalid Kaisar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mumbai Port Zone, said.

Of the 20 rescued hostages, 16 fishermen are from Myanmar and four are Thai nationals. Their fishing vessel was hijacked in April 2010.

“Pirates take us, not happy. Here, happy,” Kook Kwan, one of the rescued Thai hostages told The Hindu in broken English. He was the only one who could understand or speak any English.

The 32-year old communicated with the help of maps and wrote down when their vessel was hijacked. “We leave Thailand 7 April 2010. Pirates take us 18 April 2010 near Somalia,” he said.

He said that he was in-charge of the documentation required for the vessel.

All the crew-members worked for a company, P.T Interfishery, and were heading to Djibouti when they were hijacked.

“Ten months,” he said. The frustration and sense of anticipation that the entire crew, all of them frail, had faced during that long period of hijack was clear on his face. One Myanmarese fisherman said that out of the 27 on board when the vessel was hijacked, seven had died. Some died due to illness, while some drowned during the Naval operation as they could not swim.

“We will interrogate them now. Their embassies will be informed. If the embassies do not take responsibility, we will send them back to their own countries at our own cost,” a senior police official told The Hindu.

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