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News  


 

18 Lankans of hijacked ship back home

By Tharindu Prematillake

Eighteen Sri Lankan crew members of the captured Bermudan flagged MV Talca have been released and reached Colombo by Friday, according to an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson.
“The crew has finally set foot in Sri Lanka after being held captive in Somalia for nearly two months. The External Affairs Ministry was in constant contact with the ship owners during the whole ordeal. We are glad that things ended well”, the spokesperson said.
However, only 18 of the 20 member Sri Lankan crew on board the ship have returned to Colombo on Friday. “Two of the Sri Lankan sailors on board the MV Talca have decided to stay back in Sharjah for new shipping assignments. All of the 18 are in very good health and have now reunited with their families”, the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, reported by The Nation earlier, 16 more Sri Lankan sailors have left the island to take over the MV Talca as its new crew, according to the Head of Sri Lanka Merchant Shipping.
As to the MV Nassar Al Saudi, the only remaining ship with Sri Lankans aboard held in Somalia, the spokesperson said, “There are 13 Sri Lankan sailors on board the Al Saudi. The International Bunkering Company (IBCO) is conducting negotiations for the release of those sailors. We don’t have an embassy in Somalia, so we have instructed our missions around the region to keep constant contact with IBCO to keep tab on the status of our sailors.”
The spokesperson said that according to unconfirmed reports the pirates have demanded between 15 and 20 million US dollars as ransom to release the MV Nassar Al Saudi and its crew.