5 Indian sailors kidnapped in Bonny freed, India govt. thanks Nigeria

Five Indian seafarers who had been kidnapped about two-and-a-half months earlier in Nigeria were rescued on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the Shipping Ministry.

“I am happy to share that due to sustained efforts of various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Shipping, the Directorate General of Shipping and the High Commission of India in Abuja, Nigeria, the kidnapped Indian seafarers were successfully released and reached the safe custody of Indian authorities on June 27,” Union Minister of State for Shipping, Mansukh L Mandaviya said.

To deal with any potential maritime security crisis and to rescue the kidnapped sailors, the Indian government had set up an Inter-Ministerial Group of Officers (IMGO) under the supervision of the Ministry of Shipping. The ministry was also continuously in touch with the family members of the five sailors to update them on any developments during the rescue operation.

The High Commission of India in Abuja, Nigeria sought help from the Nigerian Navy to track the whereabouts of the missing Indian sailors, which in turn roped in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to lead the rescue efforts. Taking adequate help from the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA deployed a team in the area to try and rescue the kidnapped Indian sailors.

The Directorate General of Shipping also took up the issue of piracy in the region with the International Maritime Organisation and other global forums to draw attention to the menace of piracy on international waters.

The sailors had been abducted from their vessel the ‘MT Apecus’ on April 19, 2019 and taken ashore off Bonny Island in Nigeria.

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