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Malaysia pushes to free MISC crew held hostage by Somali pirates

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September 13, 2008

Malaysia pushes to free MISC crew held hostage by Somali pirates
Negotiations to secure the release of the crew of two Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) vessels from the pirates in the Gulf of Aden are proceeding smoothly and showing positive signs, Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama quoted the National Security Council (NSC) secretary Muhammad Hatta Ab Aziz as saying.

He said talks with the pirates were being handled fully by MISC staff.

"The Malaysian government is not involved in the negotiations but provides guidance to MISC. The details of the negotiations cannot be revealed out of concern for the safety of the crew," he told reporters at his office here Thursday.

He said all 79 crew members including 65 Malaysians were safe and healthy and their food supplies were sufficient.

"We hope the negotiations will bring positive results," Muhammad Hatta said.

"We pray for the sailors to be released before Hari Raya (festival to mark the end of fasting month/Ramadan)," he said.

On August 19, the first MISC vessel Bunga Melati 2 with a crew of 29 Malaysians and 10 Filipinos was hijacked by pirates and during the incident a Filipino was killed by a stray bullet.

Ten days later a second vessel Bunga Melati 5 with 36 Malaysians and five Filipinos was seized enroute from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia to Singapore.

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