x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ordeal over for crew held by pirates

A hijacked Italian tanker arrives safely back in the UAE.

An Italian oil tanker released by Somali pirates after more than 10 months has reached Fujairah port.

The Savina Caylyn, which had five Italians and 17 Indians on board, was seized on February 8 last year after five pirates aboard a skiff fired on it with rocket launchers and sub-machineguns near the Yemeni island of Socotra.

The pirates released the tanker on December 21, and it docked in Fujairah on Friday night. The vessel is owned by the Naples shipping company Fratelli D'Amato, which declined to comment yesterday.

"We are relieved. Our long wait is coming to an end. We are waiting for them to come home," said Praseena Nair, wife of one of the crewmen, Hari C Nair.

Her husband called her in Kerala and told her of their arrival. "He looked happy and cheerful. They have returned safely," she said.

"We don't know when they will be arriving here from the UAE. My husband told me that they are undergoing medical checkups and are finishing formalities to come out of the ship. We are also waiting about the details of the airport where they will be landing.

"I was constantly praying for his safe return. God has answered my prayers."

Somali pirates are holding 199 people for ransom, the EU's anti-piracy mission Navfor said last month. Since the start of the mission in December 2008, 2,317 seafarers have been held hostage for an average of nearly five months.

 

frahman@thenational.ae

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