Freed sailors thank Indian Government on their return

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 18, 2013 06:40 hrs

Pain, torture and wait was finally over for captive Indian sailors on board MV Royal Grace and MV Smyrni on Monday when they arrived at the Delhi Airport.

Panama-flagged MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker, was captured on March 2, 2012. MV Royal Grace has 17 Indians, including five Keralites, on board. MV Smyrni was seized by Somali pirates on May 11, 2012, off the Omani coast.

One of the sailors expressed his relief and thanked the Government of India for rescuing them after he reached Delhi on Monday.

Sidharth Arora, second officer of MV Royal Grace, said: " Hijacking experience is obviously bad. But we thank the Government and the people of India. We behaved well and they did not harm us. Now our good times have started and we are going to meet our families after 12 months."

The hardship of the hijacked Indian sailors of MV Royal Grace ended on March 11 when the vessel docked at Salalah Port,

Another sailor Saurabh Kumar said, "We suffered too much. There was physical torture. The Somalians were hell on us and no one should go back."

The remaining sailors are also expected to return India as soon as their replacements arrive in Muscat.

Officials of the Indian Embassy in Oman received both the ships. Indian embassy officials had arranged for doctors to conduct medical checkup and provide necessary assistance to a few who needed assistance.

All crewmembers were provided new clothing, toiletries and shoes by the Embassy and were provided opportunities to speak with their family members.

Passports, exit permits from Omani authorities and necessary ticketing arrangements have been made by the Embassy of India in Muscat.

The government had been working assiduously to ensure release of Indian nationals in captivity of pirates and had been pursuing the matter at various levels and in different countries. (ANI)

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