Muscat: The ordeal of the captive sailors on board the MV Royal Grace is expected to come to an end early today when the vessel docks at Salalah Port, sources said.
Even though the local shipping agent had confirmed they were facilitating the ship's arrival, they denied sharing the exact time of its arrival with the media.
"We are the local shipping agent for MV Royal Grace. But in accordance with the vessel owner's request, we can't share the arrival time," an official from the shipping office told Times of Oman.
Panama-flagged MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker, was captured on March 2, 2012. MV Royal Grace has 17 Indians, including five Keralites, on board. The other crew members include three Nigerians, one Pakistani, and one Bangladeshi. The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) flagship ESPS Méndez Núnez provided assistance to MV Royal Grace after the latter regained its freedom from Somali pirates. The tanker is now sailing to Salalah under the watchful eye of another EU Naval Force warship, ESPS Rayo.
Maritime sources confirmed that the MV Smyrni will also dock at Salalah Port on Thursday. The local shipping agent in Salalah has confirmed the impending arrival of Smyrni, which was carrying 135,000 tonnes of oil when it was seized, off the coast of Oman. It is reported to have a crew of 11 Indians, 14 Filipinos, and one Romanian. Smyrni was seized by Somali pirates on May 11, 2012, off the Omani coast.