Many of the crew in the hijacked Bangladeshi ship, MV Jahan Moni, are suffering from different diseases due to scarcity of water for drinking and other uses, food and medicine.
Family members of at least 23 crewmen yesterday said this when they gathered at the office of SR Shipping Limited, the owning firm of the ship, at the city’s Agrabad to know the latest development of negotiation with the pirates.
They also took along Jafar Iqbal and ABM Giasuddin Azam Khan, two Bangladeshi crewmembers of German oil tanker Marida Marguerite who were freed last month with others after around eight months of confinement in Somalia.
Mohammed Shahjahan, owner of the ship, said officials of the firm made a good progress in negotiation with Somali pirates on January 15, but from then on the pirates remained out of contact.
He assured the family members that he would request the pirates to arrange for food and medicine for hostages next time they can contact the pirates.
Several crewmembers of the ship contacted their family members in the last few days and informed them about their sufferings.
They asked their family to urge the government and the owner to take immediate steps for their rescue.
Wife of a crewman wishing not to be named told The Daily Star that her husband called her on January 19 and said many of the hostages were suffering from skin disease, as they had to use seawater for bath.
Besides, the crewmen could not change for over one and a half months as pirates robbed them of all their possessions after the hijack on December 5 last year.
Mother of another hostage said, “My son told me last week over the phone that the pirates are giving them boiled potatoes and some plain rice, and water purifying tablets to use seawater for drinking. He gets stomach ache whenever he drinks the water.”
Meherul Karim, general manager of the ship’s operating firm, Brave Royal Ship Management, told The Daily Star that the pirates on January 15 agreed to lessen the ransom amount demanded earlier.
Chairman of the owning firm Shahjahan reiterated his commitment to bring back the crewmembers alive.
He urged the family members to have patience and faith in them.