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Updated: June 20, 2011 01:40 IST

Sailors shifted to Pakistani warship

Anita Joshua
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The MV Suez’s 22-member crew, including six Indians, were on Sunday transferred to Pakistani warship PNS Babar. File photo
The MV Suez’s 22-member crew, including six Indians, were on Sunday transferred to Pakistani warship PNS Babar. File photo

All 23 sailors, including six Indians, aboard mv Suez —released from Somali pirates last Monday after a 10-month ordeal — had to shift to the Pakistani warship, PNS Babur, on Sunday as their vessel risked sinking.

All the sailors had boarded PNS Babur by 6.30 p.m. (Pakistani time), said human rights activist Ansar Burney, who arranged half the ransom amount for their release and was coordinating their return to Oman's Salalah port from where they were to fly to their countries.

Since PNS Babur was escorting mv Suez to Salalah as part of the Coalition Force navies guarding the piracy-prone waters of the Gulf of Aden, the captain of the cargo ship, a Pakistani, sought its help as the assistance promised by the Egyptian owner of the vessel had not reached and the ship was in danger of sinking.

Chief of the Naval Staff Noman Bashir was contacted for permission to allow foreign nationals aboard the Pakistani frigate. Mr. Burney said the sailors were being brought to Karachi as the warship could not enter ports of other countries.

“Our effort will be to put them on flights home as soon as they reach Karachi. Especially in the case of Indians, we don't want them to become victims of India-Pakistan politics,” Mr. Burney said.

In an almost similar case, five Pakistani sailors, rescued by the Indian Navy from Somali pirates, have been cooling their heels in Mumbai since March. After nearly three months, they hope to get consular access on June 28.

Mr. Burney was upset over the war of words between India and Pakistan on the issue.

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from:  C Rajagopalan
Posted on: Jun 20, 2011 at 10:27 IST
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