Chennai merchant navy officer kidnapped in Nigeria

Parents seek state help in safe return of son.

Chennai: The parents of a staff of a merchant ship have lodged a complaint with the CM’s cell claiming that their son had been kidnapped in Nigeria for ransom on December 11.

The family of the victim, Gopu, hails from Siru Mangadu village, Sunkuvarchatram, in Kancheepuram district and were allowed to meet the state home secretary to present their grievance.

The father, Logu, a farmer and his wife L. Kumari along with their younger daughter L. Akila requested the authorities to ensure the safe return of Gopu. According to their complaint, an oil carrying merchant ship MT Ananta had departed from Mumbai port on October 24 and was heading to Nigeria. The ship had five crew members, including the victim, who was working as the third rank officer.

The family received the devastating news on Monday night after one of their son’s friends, who is also employed in Nigeria, called them and told them about their son having being kidnapped. “He informed us that four people had been kidnapped apart from their son, including the ship captain, second rank officer Seppi, chief officer and a staffer named Guru,” added Logu.

S. Kalaikovan, Tamil Nadu representative of National Union of Sea-farers of India (NUSI), said they were verifying with their counterparts in Mumbai about the ship and missing crew members. “We are trying to get in touch with top officials in Nigeria through the external affairs ministry,” said Kalaikovan. He also said the crew members after reaching Nigeria port had stepped out to reach medical assistance when they were kidnapped by local people.

“My son would speak to me twice a day but I didn’t receive a call since December 14 and then we heard about the kidnapping,” said Gopu’s mother. Gopu is a graduate from AMET University and joined the merchant ship a few months ago on a contract basis. He is presently employed in Amose Shipping Company in Mumbai.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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