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Holding of seafarers in Indian Ocean condemned

The worldwide shipping industry as well as the ITF and unions have roundly condemned the latest development in the Indian Ocean piracy crisis. The incident involves the ordeal of the Indian crew of a merchant ship, who are being held by pirates despite payment of a ransom.

The 15 crewmembers of the tanker Asphalt Venture were held following the hijack by Somali pirates on 28 September. After a ransom was paid, the ship was released on 15 April. However, six officers and one rating were forced to accompany the pirates ashore, in spite of dialogue with the owners during which it was agreed that all hostages would be released.

It has been suggested that pirates in Harardhere in Somalia decided not to honour the agreement in retaliation for the recent arrest of Somali pirates by the Indian navy.

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