Five Indian sailors who were kidnapped from a ship in Nigeria earlier this year, will return to Mumbai today following their release, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday, NDTV reports.
“Our seafarers on MT Apecus – Sudeep, Chirag, Avinash, Ankit and Ravi, who have been released from captivity in Nigeria, are returning to Mumbai tomorrow,” TS Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) Ministry of External Affairs had said yesterday.
The five seafarers were kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria from the vessel MT Apecus on April 19. After more than 70 days in captivity, they were released recently and reached safe custody following joint efforts by MEA and Nigerian authorities.
“I am happy to share that due to sustained efforts of various stakeholders including Ministry of Shipping, the Directorate General of Shipping and the High Commission of India, Abujam, Nigeria, the kidnapped India seafarers were successfully released and have reached the safe custody of the authorities,” Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday.
The Central government had set up an Inter-Ministerial Group of Officers (IMGO) under the Ministry of Shipping in this matter. The Ministry coordinated with various agencies to work towards the early release of seafarers.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had also taken up the issue with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, after the father of Sudeep Chaudhary, a resident of Odisha, had appealed to him for his intervention in the matter.
Praising Mr Jaishankar and Mr Mandaviya for the release of the sailors, Union Minister Pradhan tweeted, “Thank you S Jaishankar, Mansukh Mandaviya and all the stakeholders for their efforts in securing the release of 5 Indian seafarers including that of Sudeep Chowdhary from Odisha who was amongst our citizens kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria.”