On Saturday, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State (MoS) responsible for External Affairs, visited Sanu Jose’s home, which is one of the 16 sailors from India who were reportedly “detained” in Equatorial Guinea and said that the recent information is that the vessel has now been handed over to authorities in Nigeria and request for consular access will be made once it makes it to the port.
Sanu Jose is MT Heroic Idun’s Chief Officer and one of the Indian sailors to be detained in Equatorial Guinea.
The information received is that the vessel was handed over to relevant Nigerian authorities and had started sailing toward the Nigerian port.
On reaching the port, requests for consular access will be made. And we’ll meet the sailors onboard the vessel, and negotiations with relevant Nigerian authorities will begin, Muraleedharan mentioned.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated on Thursday that it is aware of the Indian sailors stuck in Equatorial Guinea, mentioning that the government is extending its efforts for a quick resolution of the matter.
MEA is aware of the consular issue; the understanding is that the 16 sailors from India are stranded there, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi mentioned in a press briefing.
He added that they are in touch with the detained Indian sailors and are making efforts for the early resolution of this issue. At the moment, they seem to be in Equatorial Guinea.
The Indian mission based in Equatorial Guinea said on Monday that Indian authorities are working closely with Nigerian and Equatorial Guinea authorities for the quick release of crew members held up.
Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s Chief Minister, urged the Centre to intervene and release the sailors held up. In a letter to India’s PM Narendra Modi, Vijayan reportedly requested him to direct India’s diplomatic missions in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea to proactively intervene and, thereby, facilitate the urgent release of the MT Heroic Idun and the crew members who’ve been detained since 12 August.
The development has come in the wake of photographs and videos sent by the detained sailors of Kerala to their family members widely circulating on social media platforms and news channels.
One of the videos is by Vijith Nair, the brother of Vismaya who had committed suicide in 2021 (June) owing to dowry harassment — the incident led to a debate in the state regarding the practice.
In the video, Vijith says that 15 members of the crew, including him, have been locked in a Malabo-based jail surrounded by security personnel after they had been taken from the ship on the pretext of hotel accommodation.
References: NDTV, News18
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