ABUJA (NIGERIA): Owners of the cargo vessel Siehem Peace are hopeful about the early release of the six-members crew, including an Indian, taken hostage by Nigeria’s main militant group in the Niger Delta region.

Eitzen Maritime Services (EMS), the Singapore-based owners of the ship, in an e-mail query from PTI on Wednesday about the state of the crew said the company’s professional advisors were engaged in a dialogue with the hostage takers and hope for their safe release.

The statement came in the backdrop of the release of a key Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah, whose freedom the militants had said was essential for the liberty of the crew.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the country’s main militant group, had taken hostage sailor Banjit Singh Dhindsa from India along with five other foreign members of the chemical tanker earlier last week, about 20 nautical miles off Escravos waters. — PTI