The 8 hijacked seamen still in captive after 2 years

By Accidents

The Somali pirates that hijacked the asphalt/bitumen tanker vessel Asphalt Venture, employing Indian crew members off the coast of Dar Es Salaam 2 years ago, keeps holding in captivity 7 crew members - 6 officers and 1 seaman-saying they are not going to be freed until their own men have been freed from Indian jails.
The asphalt/bitumen vessel, built in 1991 is a 3884-dwt tanker flying Panama flag employed a total of 15 crew members. And 8 of them were freed in April 2011 following payment of ransom. The release of 7 others has been withheld pending the freed of convicted pirates held in India. A Korean company owns the hijacked ship.
OMCI Ship Management, the vessel’s ship management agency based in Mumbai, tried through a 3rd-party negotiator to convince the pirates to free the 7 officers still held in captivity but not with much success.
Meanwhile, Alastair Evitt, who is the chairman of SOS SaveOurSeafarers, stated: “The shipping management company and insurers have kept their side of the contract and are powerless to do any more. We believe that no government is probably to submit to this sort of blackmail, that bowing to such pressure and releasing lawfully convicted people in the prison in order to provide the freedom of these seamen would set a catastrophic precedent and could open the floodgates to an upsurge of criminal hostage-taking”.
“The aim of our company is to eradicate Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. We believe really muck this may be done in a number of ways: increasing the strength of naval forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean; assuring that pirates are then going to face trial when captured and seeking a sustainable political solution to the underlying problems in Somalia.”
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the pirates of Somalia have hijacked 212 seamen and 13 vessels so far this year, with another 58 attempted attacks.
Till date, a total of 171 seamen are being held hostage by Somali pirates, which also includes 4 merchant ships with 88 crew members, 7 fishing vessels with another 4 crew members and 29 seamen held ashore with no vessels.