Family of hijacked ship's captain prays for his return

Kolkata, July 17 (IANS) Every minute seems an agonising wait as the family members of Shishir Wahi, the captain of a chemical tanker hijacked off the coast of the West African nation Gabon, are fervently praying for his safe return.

"I spoke to him for the last time on Sunday. Because that's the day he generally calls us. We are all so worried," Wahi's daughter Richa told IANS.

Richa and her mother Preeti are in constant touch with the shipping agency V Ships, through which Wahi got the job and took charge only last week.

"He flew out on July 5 and took charge July 12. On Tuesday we learnt from V Ships' Mumbai office about the hijack. We are praying for his safe return. We are also praying for the safe return of all other crew members," said Richa.

The family stays at Alipore Park Road in South Kolkata.

The Turkish-owned, Maltese-flagged tanker, with an all-Indian 20 crew members on board, was hijacked by the pirates off the coast of Port-Gentil, Gabon.

The 2007-built MV Cotton, was on the outer anchorage of Gabon awaiting berthing in the Gulf of Guinea, when it was hijacked.

The Turkish ambassador in Gabon has contacted authorities in the west African nation about the incident.

"There has been no development since then. Richa and Preeti are eagerly waiting for a call from Wahi. We have been informed the ship is moving," Dhrub Dutta, a family friend, told IANS from the captain's AlipOre residence.

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