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Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 11:22 AM UTC

Hostage on Dubai ship seized by pirates dies

Panama Flagged Vessels By Carol Huang and Ramola Talwar Badam - MV Iceberg 1 is a Panama Flagged, Roll on Roll Off vessel with deadweight of 4500 tonnes. The vessel, with a crew of 24 and carrying a mixed cargo of general mechanical equipment, was bound for Jebel Ali in the UAE when hijacked. - DUBAI // Fathers of six Indian crewmen whose UAE-owned ship was hijacked last March say they will start a hunger strike outside the home of India's prime minister after months of appeals for government help failed. The six men plan to fly from as far as Kerala and Mumbai to New Delhi to plead for help in the release of the MV Iceberg I. The small ship, owned by the Dubai-based Azal Shipping, is one of the longest-held vessels off the coast of Somalia. One of its 24 crewman died in captivity of malnutrition last October. Speaking by phone from Mumbai, Mansing Mittal Mohite, whose 24-year-old son Ganesh is trapped on the vessel, said: "Until someone listens to us, we will not move from the prime minister's house. I would have never dreamt something like this would happen." Azal Shipping seems to have stopped negotiating, said Mr Mohite. Nor, he added, has it sent the salaries to the crewmen's families as is customary in the industry. "We want our children more than the money, but we have got nothing from the company," he said. "Someone must take responsibility."

Azal Shipping declined repeated requests to comment. The families have repeatedly petitioned top Indian authorities for help. They said they have pressured Azal Shipping to resume negotiations, but had not received replies. They sought an audience with the prime minister Manmohan Singh and sent letters to him and the Indian President Pratibha Patil as well as other officials. "We haven't got any response from the Indian government. Nobody is helping us. We are almost hopeless," said Sunita Tiwari, whose brother Dheeraj, 25, is on the MV Iceberg I.

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