The Government is keeping in touch with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman and the Consulate in Dubai, UAE to get the nine Sri Lankan sailors held by Houthi rebels of Yemen released, Foreign Affairs Ministry said today.
Ministry sources said the ship with the nine Sri Lankan sailors aboard had been held by the rebels in an area controlled by them because of a dispute that had taken place between the cargo supplier and the cargo receiver.
“We have instructed our mission in Oman, which is monitoring the situation in Yemen at the moment, to get back to us after the negotiations are concluded. We have also informed our consulate in Dubai to initiate discussions with relevant parties since the headquarters of the shipping company is based in Dubai. However, no response has been received by us so far,” sources said.
They said a court case was pending between the cargo handler and the receiver. The release of the sailors was getting delayed because of external issues such as communication among factions and lengthy court proceedings, they said.
However, sources said there was no threat to the lives of the sailors and they have in fact contacted the authorities over the phone to inform them that they are alive and well.
The ship with 26 people on-board, including the nine Sri Lankans, was taken over by the rebels two months ago.
According to foreign media reports, Houthi rebels of Yemen and their political allies have formed a new government in the country yesterday. (Lahiru Pothmulla)