Muscat: After being freed recently, two vessels hijacked by Somali pirates from the Omani coast in 2012 are heading to Salalah Port, maritime sources said.
Panama-flagged MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker which was captured on March 2, 2012, and the Greek-owned oil tanker Smyrni, seized on May 11, 2012, are heading to Salalah.
According to maritime sources, MV Royal Grace was released on Thursday.
"MV Royal Grace has 17 Indians, including five Keralites on board.
The other crew members include three Nigerians, one Pakistani and one Bangladeshi. The ship is heading to Salalah and may arrive in Salalah in two or three days. Smyrni was carrying 135,000 tonnes of oil when it was seized off the coast of Oman. It is reported to have a crew of about 11 Indians, 14 Filipinos and one Romanian on board. The released ship is reportedly to reach Salalah today (Saturday)," the sources added.
Even though maritime sources are confirming the release, they were not able to provide details of the negotiations which brought about the release.
According to Indian media reports in January, after failing to receive help from the Government of India, the families of 17 Indian crew members of the MV Royal Grace sought help of a Pakistani-based activist Ansar Burney.
Somali pirates had threatened that they would kill the Indian crew members if their families failed to arrange for payment of a ransom by December 31, 2012.
Burney, who runs the Ansar Burney Trust, was earlier successful in freeing the crew of MV Suez in June 2011, during another hijacking by Somali pirates.