Stowaways who hijacked the 15,000 ton MV Med Star, an Italian merchant ship
, off the Indian coast were
persuaded to give up and the vessel was escorted to Bombay, according to reports from India's Coast Guard. Apparently, 10 Iranians and four Iraqi nationals boarded the vessel in the Iranian port of Bander-e-Abbas Thursday, June 8, and summarily were talked into giving up by negotiators based in Germany.
The stowaways had sought political asylum in a European city and had threatened to blow up the vessel if it moved towards India but their claim of being armed with explosives was proven false. The Germany-based ship owners association Protection and Indemnity Club had been negotiating with the stowaways for two days.
"In normal stowaway cases, they would have been deported. But since they have asked for a political asylum, the Indian government would have to decide," a Coast Guard spokesperson said. The government may hand them over to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees after preliminary interrogation by Indian authorities, he said. The ship was originally due to arrive at Kandla port on India's west coast on Sunday evening to load 2,000 tons of granite cargo.