x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Indian MPs lobby for crew of hijacked Dubai tanker

Politicians in India are lobbying for government intervention to free 17 Indian crew members.

DUBAI // Politicians in India are pressuring their government to intervene on behalf of crewmen of the hijacked MT Royal Grace.

The Dubai-registered chemical tanker was captured by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman this month after setting sail from Sharjah. The crew of 22 consists of 17 Indians, three Nigerians, a Pakistani and a Bangladeshi.

PC Chacko, an MP from Kerala, said he would meet the external affairs minister SM Krishna and ask the government to act as two crewmen were from his constituency.

Mr Chacko visited the families of both men and assured them the government would do everything it could to ensure their safe release.

"I came to know that the owner of the ship has initiated negotiations to release the ship," he said. "The government of India has also instructed the director general of shipping to closely follow the developments pertaining to the incident and update them from time to time. Something must be done to stop this menace. It's a horrible experience for the families."

Fasil Ashraf is a friend of one of the crew, Stanly Vincent, 21.

Mr Ashraf said he had heard nothing from the owner about the ship. "We are in dark about the developments," he said. "There has been no information on this matter.

The MT Royal Grace is owned by Oyster Cargo and Shipping Company. The company could not be reached for comment.

frahman@thenational.ae

Editorial on piracy, page a15