NATIONAL

Gujarat asks Centre to act to free hijacked ships

Manas Dasgupta

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government has written to the Centre asking for details of the Indian ships, most of them from Gujarat, that were hijacked on high seas by Somali pirates and whose crew members have allegedly been kept in captivity.

The State Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said he had written the letter on behalf of the State government to the Union Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi, and had sent a copy to the External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, requesting the Centre to take necessary steps to free the hijacked ships.

He said of the eight “dhows” (medium wooden cargo vessels) reportedly hijacked by Somali pirates, seven were from Gujarat — three from Mandvi, one each from Bhuj and Gandhidham, all in the Kutch district, and one each from Veraval and Porbandar. The seven ships have over 140 crew members from Gujarat, many of them from Kutch district.