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Deadline to free 6 captive sailors ends today

New Delhi: The seven-day deadline set by Somali pirates to free six Indian sailors for ransom ends on Wednesday.

In Lok Sabha, the Opposition has staged a walk-out demanding immediate Government intervention for the release of the six indian sailors held hostage by Somali pirates for the past seven months.

Speaking on the pirates issue in Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said, “We are in touch with the ship owners for the sailors who are taken hostage. They are negotiating with the pirates. We are hopeful that we will be able to rescue the hostages.”

The six sailors were on board the MV Suez, when it was hijacked by pirates on August 2, 2010. The ship’s crew includes four Pakistanis, six Indians, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians.

The ransom amount set by the Somali pirates is reportedly $4 million.

The hijacking issue was discussed between the External Affairs Minister and Egyptian Ambassador Khaled el Bakly, who agreed to coordinate with the ship owner, a national of Egypt.

The Government is continuing with its efforts to ensure all possible help in seeking safe release of the sailors, held captive by Somali pirates for more than seven months now, official sources said on Tuesday.

They said the Ambassador met Krishna and during the meeting the envoy agreed to coordinate with the ship owner who is an Egyptian and whose company was negotiating with the pirates.

Meanwhile, the families of captives have been demanding immediate and resolute action by the Centre in the matter.

Last week, Krishna had met family members of the sailors and assured them of all possible help. But nothing has come out of it so far.

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