Appeal for assistance from 16 Indian crew members of a ship held in Equatorial Guinea

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Appeal for assistance from 16 Indian crew members of a ship held in Equatorial Guinea

The 16 Indian sailors said in a statement that the Norwegian-flagged MT Heroic Idun “was captured by the Equatorial Guinea naval ship in international waters on August 12, 2022.”

PANAJI: A ship’s crew of 26 people, including 16 Indian sailors, has made an appeal for assistance to be freed from “illegal” incarceration in Equatorial Guinea on the west coast of central Africa.

The Norwegian-flagged MT Heroic Idun “was arrested by the Equatorial Guinea naval ship in international waters on August 12, 2022,” the seamen claimed in a statement.

According to the statement, on August 14, 2022, the ship was “taken to Luba port in Equatorial Guinea under naval escort and threat of fatal action against the vessel and crew if orders are not met (with)”.

The crew of the MT Heroic Idun would like to ask for help and support so that we might be freed and returned to India from Equatorial Guinea, where we have been detained illegally since August 14, 2022. There are 26 people working on board the ship in all, including 16 Indians, 8 Sri Lankans, 1 Polish, and 1 Filipino, according to the statement.16 Indian sailors, including 3 Keralites, among 26 detained by Guinea

V Muraleedharan, minister of state for external affairs, claimed to be aware of the situation and that his ministry is working to repatriate the Indian people.

On August 14, nine Indian crew members were carried ashore, making a total of fifteen crew members who have been detained at Malabo ever since. Six Indians were among the 11 crew members that remained on the ship.

The statement claimed that the vessel’s owners, managers, and crew “had completely cooperated with all the investigations carried out by the Equatorial Guinea authorities.”

Three times during their stay, Nigerian officials interrogated the crew members who were being kept on shore.

According to the crew, Nigeria requested that the Equatorial Guinean Navy hold them.

On August 8, the ship was scheduled to load a cargo of crude oil at Nigeria’s AKPO port, but due to a delay, no operations ever took place in Nigeria.

The ship was approached by an unknown boat on the evening of August 8 who claimed to be members of the Nigerian Navy and urged it to obey their directions and move forward with them.

“Because it was nighttime, there was no moonlight, and the craft’s Automatic Identification System was not activated, we were unable to identify it. The ship managers, OSM Ship Management AS Norway, and we did our best to confirm the identity of the unidentified craft through the vessel agents in Nigeria, Inchcape Shipping Services. We also tried to confirm the presence of a naval vessel in the area of our ship through various sources, including DNK war risk insurance, Ships local agent Inchcape Shipping Services Nigeria, and ARC Security, the sailors said in their statement.

“All parties advised us that this is not the Nigerian Navy’s typical course of action and that the warship should not obey any commands unless precise instructions relating to the identify of the unidentified craft are obtained,” the statement continued.

The statement went on to say: “We also attempted to confirm the same with the security at the AKPO airport, but they were also unable to positively identify the craft. According to the facts at hand and the fact that Nigeria is a High-Risk Area for security reasons, we responded in good faith, fearing for the safety and security of the ship and its crew, and sailed out of the area at full speed. The following day, on August 9, 2022, we received word that the mystery UFO was







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