Kochi: Back to the shores after being rescued by the Coast Guard, the 16 Iranian and Pakistan crew of a fishing boat, which was adrift near Lakshadweep after the Somali pirates abandoned it, profusely thanked India for saving their lives.
'We salute the Indian government and Indian Coast Guard for saving our lives and helping us', was how Mohammed Kadar Baksh, hailing from Karachi in Pakistan, told reporters in an emotion choked voice on board the Coast Guard vessel 'Varuna', which brought them here on Tuesday.
The crew, all looking tired and haggard, said they were happy to have been rescued.
The crew, 13 Iranians and three Pakistanis - were rescued from the boat 'al-Husaini' which was captured by Somali pirates off Socotra, a small archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean about 240 km east of Somalia on May 16 and abandoned on June 10 after taking away food and fuel.
'We were at the mercy of Allah', Baksh said as he narrated how they were captured by the 14-odd Somali pirates soon after they set off from Konarak, Chahabar in Iran on May 16 for the Somalian waters for fishing, estimating 30-40 days of voyage.