Pirate attack: More than 10 days after no info on kidnapped Indian sailor


Chennai, Sep 15, 2021, IANS

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

 

It is more than 10 days since an Indian sailor, Pankaj Kumar, believed to be kidnapped by sea pirates from the ship MV Tampen anchored in West African nation Gabon and there has been no information about his whereabouts, said a family member.

"I have written to the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of External Affairs. There has been no information for those mails. I am contacting the shipping company Proactive Shipping Management daily. They are also not helpful," Sandeep Kumar, the younger brother of sailor Pankaj Kumar, told IANS.

"Our family is in a dire situation. Nobody seems to empathise with our family," Sandeep Kumar in a choking voice said.

The sailor Pankaj Kumar, aged 30, hailing from the Gurdaspur district in Punjab was the Second Engineer of MV Tampen. He got married last year.

The ship MV Tampen, with 17 Indian crew, was sailing from Cameroon to the UAE when it developed some propulsion problems and was anchored just two kilometres away from Gabon's Owendo anchorage when pirates boarded the ship on 5.9.2021 morning.

While the pirates threw Pankaj Kumar overboard, they also shot and injured Cook Sunil Ghosh and Chief Officer Naurial Vikas who were later admitted to a local hospital.

The ship is owned by Prince Marine Transport Service Pvt Ltd, Mumbai and the sailors were provided by Proactive Ship Management.

The ship sailing from Cameroon to the UAE has been facing technical problems enroute. Both its propulsion systems had stopped several times.

The vessel was diverted to Owendo for repairs as it was the nearest port.

On 5.9.2021, six pirates attacked the ship and kidnapped Pankaj Kumar and shot two sailors.

Sandeep Kumar said: "I also spoke to John Rupchandani, Honorary Consul of India in Gabon. He told me that the search for my brother has to be carried out by Gabon officials only."

Officials of Proactive Ship Management were not available for comments when contacted by IANS.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])
 

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