“No assurance or hope so far….nobody is ready to commit to helping us rescue our children”

With no hope or assurance of rescue, the parents of the 17 Indian crew members on board chemical tanker MT Royal Grace, which was hijacked on March 2 near Oman by Somali pirates, plan to approach and yet again appeal to the Centre to intervene. Stating there has been no help in sight so far, the parents said that they feel abandoned.

K. Chandran, whose son Midhun is among those kidnapped, said: “We plan to meet government officials once again on Monday, but are not sure of what will come out of the meeting. So far, we have been given no assurance or hope. Nobody is ready to commit to helping us rescue our children. It’s a horrifying state of affairs.”

“Last month, we received a call from the pirates’ negotiator. They told us they would start drowning our children in case no ransom was given. We haven’t heard from them after the November 30 deadline. We dread to think of what will happen to our children. The negotiator told us then that that would be the last contact call,” Mr. Chandran added.

Earlier, a group of parents from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab had appealed to the government to intervene and rescue their children. The parents said the ship owner had abandoned them and that the pirates were asking for a ransom of over Rs.15 lakh.

Shaken by the last call from the pirates’ negotiator, the parents sat on dharna outside the Ministry of Shipping office last month asking the government to intercede in the matter.

Susheel Kumar, whose brother Saurav Kumar is being held hostage, said: “But the dharna too resulted in almost nothing. We approached senior officials of the External Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and now Shipping Ministry, but it amounted to nothing. We don’t know where to go next and who to appeal for help now.”

The ship was on its way to Nigeria with 22 crew members when it was hijacked.

  • 17 Indian crew members were on board MT Royal Grace, which was hijacked on March 2 near Oman

  • ‘Pirates’ negotiator called last month, said they will start drowning them in case of no ransom’