|18 Lankans of hijacked ship
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
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.