New Delhi: With Somali pirates still holding seven Indian hostages, ship owners on Sunday said they have not heard anything from the pirates after the last agreement and were trying hard to get in touch with them.

"We haven't been able to contact them after the last agreement. We are making every possible attempt to get in touch with these people, but they haven't got back to us. We are only getting the news from the media," Sunil Puri from OMCI Shipmanagement, managers of the ship MV Asphalt Venture said.

Somali pirates on Saturday released the Panama-flagged tanker with only eight of the 15-member all-Indian crew.

Puri said the original deal with pirates was that they will hand over all hostages after getting the money.

According to a news service from African nation, the pirates were reportedly angry at the USD 3.5 million ransom amount which was lower than what they expected and were holding the remaining crew members to extract more money.

The tanker was hijacked by the pirates September 28, 2010, and had been moored some five miles off Harardhere in central Somalia.

The Indian Navy has captured 120 Somali pirates during it anti-piracy operations in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

The biggest seizure was of 61 Somalia pirates after a mother ship, Vega 5, was apprehended.

According to latest figures, 53 Indian sailors are being held hostage in five different ships. Of them, 17 have been held for the longest on MT Savina Caylyn, an Italian ship which was captured Feb 8, 2010.


Released sailors refuse to return
The eight Indian sailors released from the captivity of Somali pirates have refused to return India until their remaining seven colleagues are also released, an official said here on Sunday.

"They have decided to express solidarity with their remaining seven colleagues and demanded that they should also be released simultaneously," National Union of Seafarers of India general secretary AG Serang said.

Terming it as a ‘rare act of courage,’ Serang urged for renewed efforts by Indian and international agencies to secure release of all the hostages, including Indians, in captivity of the pirates.

High-ranking sources at the Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS) here said that they had no information about the current status of the hostage crisis involving Indian sailors and Somali pirates.

An Indian Navy official said that a vessel is giving cover to the pirate vessel where the hostages are being held at a Somali port to ensure that there is no "re-hijack" of the Indian sailors.

(Agencies)