Kochi/Tuticorin | Two Keralites and a sailor from Tamil Nadu, who were among the seven Indians released by Somali pirates after four years of captivity, reached their respective home towns today.
Unnikrishanan Bhaskaran (60) and K George Joseph (40) of Kerala and Deniston (27) of Tuticorin district returned to an emotional welcome by their relatives. George Joseph claimed the pirates had used third degree methods to torture them. Their hands and legs were tied up and they were beaten, he said adding food was a scarce commodity.
The hostage drama took so long as the Indian navy had captured some Somali pirates, due to which our release got delayed, Joseph said. The sailors were released late last week and had reached Mumbai from Nairobi on Nov 3. Deniston, son of Lithan of Punnakayal village near Tuticorin, was given a warm welcome by his family members and local priests this afternoon, a report from Madurai said.
The seven sailors, including two who are settled in Mumbai, were kept were kept as captives in Africa after the pirates released eight of their colleagues along with the ship, three years ago. Sixteen sailors had been abducted along with their vessel `MV Asphalt Venture’ off the Somali coast four years ago.
The ship, with its cargo of bitumen, had started its journey from Durban in South Africa and had discharged cargo at Mauritius, Reunion and Mobasa and was returning to Durban when it was attacked by the pirates.
In the past two years, international naval forces, with active participation from the Indian Navy, have been patrolling the waters very aggressively, leading to a reduction in piracy incidents.
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