Conakry: Twenty six sailors, including three Keralites, have been detained by navy personnel of West African nation of Guinea, suspecting their involvement in crude oil piracy.
The sailors were in the Norway vessel Heroic Idun, when they were detained by the Guinean Navy, reportedly at the behest of Nigeria, according to reports.
Vijith, the brother of Vismaya who died by suicide following dowry harrasment at Sathankotta in Kollam last June, is among the sailors. reports said.
‘Though the ship's Norway-based company offered $200,000 as ransom, the Guinean Navy hasn't agreed to release them.
The move is to hand them over to Nigeria, as per reports.
The ship reached Nigeria's AKPO Terminal on August 8 to fill crude oil.
While the crew was awaiting their turn, another ship was spotted heading towards Heroic Idun.
Though the sailors tried to steer away from the spot, assuming the approaching vessel to be of pirates, the vessel was seized by the Guinean Navy personnel.
The sailors were taken into custody and interrogated.
There are three Malayalis in the group, which has 16 Indians.
The rest are foreigners The Guinean Navy couldn't find anything unusual in the investigation, according to reports.
A strong involvement by India through diplomatic channels would be needed to secure the release of sailors, as per reports.
According to Global Ship tracking sites, the Heroic Idun was still in the Gulf of Guinea on the Western African coast on Sunday morning.
Maritime trade is a key source of income for the coastal states of West Africa and oil accounts for a lion's share of Nigeria's income.
Oil piracy is rampant in the Gulf of Guinea.