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A group photo of released crew members including four Pakistanis, six Indians, eleven Egyptians and one Sri Lankan, who were hijacked by Somali Pirates, at a big ship after 10 months of their captivity in Somalia, this picture released by Ansar Burney Trust on Monday, June 13, 2011. – Photo by PPI

KARACHI: The evacuation of the crew of ill-fated MV Suez has been completed, stated by an official of the Pakistan Navy here on Sunday evening.

He said that all the 22 crew are safely onboard the Pakistan Navy Ship PNS Babur.

The evacuated crew of MV Suez will be taken on board another PN Ship Zulfiqar for onward passage to Pakistan, it was further stated.

Meanwhile, a press release of the Public Relations Directorate of Pakistan Navy on Sunday said that the Operation Umeed-e-Nuh was initiated by Pakistan Navy when Captain of MV Suez requested for assistance and escort, after release by the Somali pirates.

On the order of Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, Pakistan Navy Ship Babur, deployed on counter piracy operation in Gulf of Aden, was immediately tasked to provide all necessary assistance to Panama flagged MV Suez.

The ship had 22 crew members, including 11 Egyptian, six Indians, four Pakistanis and a Sri Lankan.

The operation was executed in two stages. During Stage-I launched on June 16, PNS Babur commenced humanitarian assistance to MV Suez, which included transfer of Special Operation Force, Medical Teams along with medical supplies and food provisions.

While the operation was in progress, an Indian naval ship Godavari arrived in the vicinity and tried to hamper the humanitarian assistance being provided by PN ship.

Indian Navy ship Godavari also tried to contact master of MV Suez to offer support which was declined by the master.

It may be mentioned here that MV Suez was again attempted by pirate boats to hijack the vessel, but their bids were successfully thwarted by PNS Babur and fired warning shots at the incoming pirate boat and forced them to flee.

MV Suez having been in captivity for a period of 10 months had considerable deteriorated operational and material state.

Moreover, the crew onboard was weak and suffering from various ailments.

Pakistan Navy's SOF, Medical and Technical Assistance Teams remained onboard MV Suez to render all possible assistance.

On June 17, 100 nautical miles short of Salalah, the ship's fuel exhausted and the ship could no more continue with the passage.

Ship's Master contacted concerned shipping agency for provision of fuel/assistance. Upon Masters request, ship owner arranged a tug for towing the ship to port of Salalah. The arranged tug also developed a defect and towing plan was abandoned. PNS Babur during all this time, remained in close vicinity of MV Suez.

During Stage-2 of the operation, Master of the vessel, considering all options, requested Pakistan Navy for evacuation of the crew on humanitarian ground and to save lives at sea.

Chief of the Naval Staff, approved the evacuation and PNS Babur was tasked to undertake the operation in the face of rough weather.

The evacuation of MV Suez crew has been completed and all 22 crew members are safely onboard Pakistan Navy Ship.

The crew is planned to be transferred onboard another PN Ship Zulfiqar for onward passage to Pakistan.

PNS Babur will resume her tasking for counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden.