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Seafarers discuss piracy issue in Chandigarh
The first Northern Mariners Conclave was organised on April 23 in Chandigarh. The conclave discussed the issue of piracy, which is affecting the marine business across the world.
CHANDIGARH CHAPTER of the Company of Mater Mariners of India (CMM) organised the first Northern Mariners Conclave 2KXI here on April 23. Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, was the chief guest on the occasion.
 
On this 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 February 5 this year, and met  Randeep Nabha, MLA and later the Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur in Delhi on February 10.
 
Thanks to her intervention at the highest level, the captive Indian crew was released on March 13 and it landed in Mumbai on March 15, 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, Preneet Kaur informed that the Cabinet Committee has approved a 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 aware 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 the city 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. 
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