Indian hostages from MT Asphalt Venture freed?

Andrew Mwangura writes:
Three of the seven Indian hostages are currently in the safe hands of local administration in Hadhadho, Somalia en-route to Nairobi, Kenya.

There where about of the four other Indian  hostages is not yet known.

A Pirate leader is said to have been seriously injured while one gunman is said to have died during a heavy exchange of gun fire amongst gunmen holding captive seven Indian crew members of the Panama flagged MT ASPHALT VENTURE.

Reports filtering Mombasa last Wednesday evening indicates that fighting erupted amongst pirates holding captive the crew members soon after ransom money amounting to US$ 500,000 was delivered to the gunmen to secure safe release of the hostages.

Initially the Pirates holding captive the seven former crew members of the MT ASPHALT VENTURE were demanding US1 million to release the hostages.

The hostages were held captive in a remote village known as FAA some 20 kilometers from Harardheere.
They were kept hostage by a pirate group under the leadership of Fathi Gacamey.

The Panama flagged MT ASPHALT VENTURE, a 1991 built asphalt/bitumen tanker was hijacked by Somali pirates on September 28th 2010 off Dar es Salaam while under way from Mombasa to Durban Natal, South Africa.

She was released on April 15, 2012 following a ransom payment amounting to US$ 3.5milion.

Despite the owners’ concluding a dialogue with the pirates for the full release of 15 crew and vessel and payment of the ransom, the vessel was released but 6 officers and 1 rating were taken off the tanker and made to accompany the pirates ashore.

Media reports suggested that pirates in Harardheere have taken the decision not to honor the agreement made but to prolong the hostage ordeal of the 7 seafarers in retaliation for the arrest of Somali pirates by the Indian Navy.

Pirate sources told me that the hostages are in bad health and they do not have fresh and enough water. There is also a big shortage of food.

The situation in and around the remote village of FAA is very dark and gloomy, said the pirates sources in Harardheere.

There are about 105 suspected Somali pirates arrested by Indian navy undergoing trial in the courts of law of India.

Andrew Mwangura

Maritime Security News Note:
Please be aware that this information has not been verified at this time.

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