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Somali pirates release Indian sailors

Mumbai: After nearly two months in captivity, 25 Indian sailors were released by Somali pirates on Thursday, though there was no word on whether any ransom was paid to the brigands.

An official of the Directorate General of Shipping said 25 Indian and three Bangladeshi crew members of MT Biscaglia, a Liberian flag vessel that was hijacked on November 28 by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, were released on Thursday night.

“The crew of the ship MT Biscaglia have been released. All are safe,” National Union of Seafarers of India General Secretary Abdulgani Serang told PTI here.

Relatives of one of the sailors claimed that pirates had initially demanded $15 lakh and later raised it to $ 25 lakh for the release of the crew but it was not clear whether the ransom was paid or not.

Two Britons and an Irish sailor who were onboard the vessel had escaped by jumping into the sea after the pirate attack and they were later rescued.

The chemical tanker was carrying 16,282 tonnes of cargo and was travelling between Indonesia and Europe. Biscaglia was the 97th vessel to be attacked in 2008 off the Somalian coast.

The ship, operated out of Singapore by Ishima Private Ltd, is owned by a company in Marshall Islands.

Eighteen Indian sailors were freed on November 16 after two months in captivity. A ransom amount of nearly $2.5 million was paid for their release.

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