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Indian Crew Members Of Cargo Ship Return Home After Over 9 Months Of Detention In Africa

On Sunday, the Indian government announced the return of 16 crew members detained for over nine months in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

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Indian Crew Members Of Cargo Ship Return Home After Over 9 Months Of Detention In Africa
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Sixteen Indian crew members of a cargo vessel who were in detention for over nine months in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria have returned to India following the government's lengthy negotiations with the authorities concerned, official sources said on Sunday.
     
Oil tanker MT Heroic Idun and its 26 crew members, including 16 Indians, were in detention since August last year.
     
They were initially detained in Equatorial Guinea and subsequently in Nigeria.  The ship and crew were accused of various crimes, including oil theft.
     
"Following lengthy negotiations, all charges against the crew were dropped and the ship was released on May 27 after paying the fines. The Indian crew members have now returned to India," said a source.
    
The sources said the Indian Mission officials remained in regular touch with the crew and undertook consular access on numerous occasions.
     
"From the outset, the government of India, through its missions in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, and in bilateral meetings, took up the matter with the respective foreign authorities at various levels," said a source.
     
"They were pressed for early resolution of the issue and repatriation of the Indian crew members," it said.
     
Following interventions with the Nigerian government, the crew was allowed to remain on board the ship with the provision of regular food, instead of being taken to a detention centre, the sources said.
     
The crew members were also allowed periodic contact with their families.
     
The Indian Mission worked with the shipping company for legal representation to be arranged for the crew, they said.
     
"It was highlighted to the Nigerian authorities that there had been no oil theft; necessary permissions had been accorded; and that the crew was not privy to the decisions of operations," the source said.

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