Barinder Saluja, Chandigarh, April 24 : Chandigarh Chapter of the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMM) organized the first Northern Mariners Conclave 2KXI here today.
Smt. Parneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, was the chief guest on the occasion.
Capt M.S. Kahlon presented the saga of two young merchant navy officers from Punjab, who were amongst the 11 Indians in a crew of 26 of a cargo ship, Rak Afrikana of Dubai, held hostage by sea pirates on 11th April 2010 at Harardhere in Somalia for 332 days.
Capt Kahlon informed how the Government of India swung into action after he was approached by the families of two seafarers on 5th February this year, and met Mr. Randeep Nabha, MLA and later the Minister of State for External Affairs Smt Parneet Kaur in Delhi on 10th February.Thanks to her intervention at the highest level, the captive Indian crew was released on 13th March, who landed in Mumbai on 15th of March, he informed.
The parents of 2nd Officer Partap Inder Singh of Mohali and Cadet Navdeep Singh of Kharar, presented the photographs of Rak Afrikana as mark of their gratitude to the Minister.
Speaking on the occasion Smt Parneet Kaur informed that the Cabinet Committee has approved series of measures to address legal, administrative and operational aspects of combating piracy involving strict action collectively by the Ministries of Shipping, External Affairs, and Defence.
She expressed her sympathies to the families of Indian seafarers held hostage and assured that the government of India is seized of the situation and will take up appropriate action to safeguard their welfare.
Capt J.S.Gill, former Director General Shipping, Government of India, participated in the technical session that addressed the hot issue of “Piracy at Sea”.
Participating seafarers expressed concern over the serious problem that acts of piracy are creating in the high seas especially in the Indian Ocean region.
On this occasion, CMMI Chandigarh Chapter also felicitated the parents of its member Capt. Gurpreet Singh, Deputy Director of International Maritime Organization, London, who had recently been presented the “Life Time Achievement Award” at Mumbai by industry magazine ‘Sailor Today’.
Earlier Chairman of CMMI Chandigarh Chapter, Capt P.S. Sidhu explained that tricity is home to an estimated 3,500 seafaring officers and engineers who remit nearly Rs.35 crore in foreign exchange to this region every month.
CMMI local chapter started operation last month with the celebration of the National Maritime Day, and paying tribute to the seafarers who lost their lives in action, informed chapter Secretary Capt. G.S. Ghuman.
Capt. M.S. Kahlon, said that Chandigarh is one of the 15 chapters of CMMI, which was established in August 1957 and has series of activities planned for the region.