CHANDIGARH: A sailor from Rohtak in Haryana along with four others were rescued on Friday from pirates in Nigeria. The rescued has been identified as 20-year-old Ankit Hooda, a native of Assan village.
The sole breadwinner of his family, Ankit, who was working as a seaman on this Nigerian merchant ship, graduated from Rohtak.
The other Indians who were rescued are Chirag Jadhav from Kalyan in Maharashtra, Sudeep Kumar Chaudhary from Odisha, Moogu Ravi and P S Avinash.
Ankit has been the only support of his 45-year-old mother. His father's whereabouts are not known for the last eight years. According to sources, Ankit's captors had made him call his family.
Our commitment to protect each and every Indian working overseas.— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) June 27, 2019
5 Indian seafarers were kidnapped in Nigeria on 19/04/2019. For this inter-ministerial group of officers has been set up by the GoI to deal the situation. Happy to share that they were successfully released today. pic.twitter.com/w20ggQuNPm
Confirming the news, the Ministry of Shipping in a statement released on Wednesday stated that five Indian seafarers from the vessel of 'MT Apecus' were kidnapped and taken ashore in the outer anchorage of Bonny Island, Nigeria at around 13.30 GMT (1900 IST) on April 19 this year. The directorate general of shipping was reported about this incident during the early hours on April 20. Standard Operating Procedure as per the applicable contingency plan was initiated and various agencies concerned were intimated of the said incident.
Union Minister of State for Shipping, Mansukh L Mandaviya said, "I am happy to share that due to sustained efforts of various stakeholders, ministry of shipping, directorate general of shipping and the high commission of India in Nigeria, the kidnapped Indian seafarers were successfully released and reached the safe custody of Indian authorities on June 27.’’
The Centre had set up an inter-ministerial group of officers under the Union ministry of shipping and conveyed about the situation to deal with any potential maritime security situations arising out of any hijacking at sea of merchant's vessels with the Indian crew.
The High Commission of India, Abuja, Nigeria has conveyed the details of the incident to the Nigerian authorities. Following this, the Nigerian navy secured the vessel as well as to carry out investigations into the abduction. Furthermore, the regional maritime rescue and coordination centre of Nigeria continued to assist in this matter.
Coordinating with the police and the navy to secure and expedite the safe release of the kidnapped seafarers, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency had deployed a team in the area.