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Sri Lankan crew to be released

2 March 2010 02:24 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Sri Lankan crew, including the captain, of a cargo ship being held by Somali authorities at gunpoint at a port in Berbera since September 15, 2009 are set to be released this week following diplomatic intervention.

Reports from Somalia said that the Panama-flagged but UAE owned Ro-Ro cargo ship is being held at the Somaliland port of Berbera under a court order in a legal dispute between Somaliland authorities, cargo owners and the ship-owner.

The roll-on-roll-off vessel MV LEILA consists of 14 seafarers - 7 from India, 3 (incl. Captain) from Sri Lanka, 2 from Pakistan and 2 from Somalia. The 1973 built rust-bucket is apparently in a very bad shape too and the condition of vessel and crew are deteriorating. The crew had asked for urgent international intervention and assistance.

Diplomatic missions of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have also been involved and have now all agreed to provide tickets for the evacuation of the crew already. The Indian crew having been successfully evacuated to Nairobi and the two Pakistanis hopefully to follow on Friday.

The Sri Lankan captain and his mates will also have to wait another day, because the captain has to first officially hand over the vessel and the three last of the expatriate crew will then fly out on Thursday to Sri Lanka, reports said. (Daily Mirror online)

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  • Tuesday, 02 March 2010 03:43 AM

    good news for their family members

    Tuesday, 02 March 2010 06:39 AM

    What an ordeal! Thank goodness they are going free. It was terrible to read their plight during the presidential elections when DM reported it and now some good news at last! Their families should be so relieved. Hope they'd return safe.

    Tuesday, 02 March 2010 11:06 AM

    they could have released the crew first


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