India seeks IMO’s intervention in releasing 43 sailors held captive by Somalian pirates


India yesterday sought the intervention of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for early release of 43 Indian sailors, who are in the captivity of Somalian pirates.

Shipping Minister G K Vasan in his meeting with IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu drew the attention to the issue of 43 Indian seafarers who are in captivity of Somalian pirates, an official release said.

He requested for the intervention of the IMO for early release of the Indian seafarers, the release said.

IMO is a specialised UN agency, responsible for measures to improve safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. It is also involved in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.

Meanwhile, the Shipping Ministry has set up an inter-ministerial group of officers (IMGO) to deal with hostage situation arising out of the hijacking of merchant vessels with Indian crew on board.

He informed the Secretary General that the High Risk Area extended in December, 2010 for heightened alertness has resulted in increased shipping traffic closer to Indian western Coast thereby causing unprovoked firing incidents on fishermen on mistaken identity leading to loss of lives.

The Minister sought the assistance of the IMO for promotion of technical cooperation and technology transfer relating to the improvement of the energy efficiency of ships.
He also requested for assistance of the IMO for providing mandatory training for the Indian seafarers in ships from IMO member countries.

For utilising the skilled manpower available in Indian Maritime Administration as Technical Consultants or Assistants or auditors etc in various projects or programmes undertaken by the IMO in its member countries, the statement said.

Vasan added that though India fully recognises the relevance of sustainable shipping and the urgent need for addressing the issue of GHG (green house gas) emission from ships, a need is felt for a balanced, fair and effective initiative from IMO regarding the same.

Sekimizu assured to extend all possible assistance to India.




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