A Sri Lankan Marine Engineer along with eight other crew members hijacked in Somali waters has been demanded USD 100,000 for their release.
A foreign Ministry statement said the Sri Lankan named Sydney Rodrigo, six Somalis, one Tanzanian and one Indian are being held in a house at an unknown location in Somalia, some 250 km away from the ship.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Kenya who had contacted Mr. Rodrigo over the phone has informed that he is safe and in good health, it said.
The Foreign Ministry is in contact with the family of Rodrigo and the owners of the vessel, AT Nerm Shipping company of Salah, Sultanate of Oman.
Rodrigo is the third Sri Lankan to be held by Somali hijackers in six months, it said.
Ministry of Ports and Shipping, on the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cautioned Sri Lankan merchant sea farers in October 2005 to be cognizant of risks involved before seeking employment with companies that ply ships off the Somali coast.
Sri Lanka Mission in Nairobi, Kenya and Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, are continuing their efforts to secure the release of Rodrigo, it said.