Somali pirates free 26 Bangladeshis, ship after 99 days

Somali pirates released Bangladeshi ship MV Jahan Moni along with its 26 crew on Monday morning, 99 days after hijacking the vessel from Arabian Sea on December 5, 2010.
‘The pirates left the vessel at about 10:00am Bangladesh time and it sailed for Salalah port of Oman at about 10:30am,’ said Meherul Karim, general manager of the ship’s operator Brave Royal Ship Management Limited, at a briefing.
The company’s managing director, Mohammed Shahjahan, head of crisis management cell Captain Golam Mostafa and marine superintendent Captain Zaidi were present at the briefing.
Meherul said the ship was expected to reach Salalah, its port of refuge, where its 25 crew and wife of a crewman would undergo medical check-up before flying to Chittagong on March 22.
He said another group of crewmen would reach Salalah by this time to take charge of the ship.
The Bangladesh embassy in Muscat is organising their repatriation. Bangladeshi doctors staying in Salalah have been contacted for providing the crew with emergency medical service and advice after they reach the port.
Meherul said that a group of 26 crewmen had already been appointed to operate the vessel from Salalah adding that seven officials of the company would fly to Oman along with them by Wednesday.
‘Bangladeshi crew cannot be changed in Oman as per the rules of that country, but we are replacing the crew of Jahan Moni under a special arrangement with the help of the government,’ he said.
He said they had contacted the pirates on February 22 to secure the release of the crew and their captors on February 28 sent a reply agreeing to free the vessel along with the hostages.
‘The pirates also sent us pictures of the crew members on March 10 to assure us that the hostages were in good health,’ he added.
Mohammed Shahjahan expressed gratitude to prime minister Sheikh Hasina as well as the foreign and shipping ministries for the government’s all-out cooperation in securing the release of the vessel and its crew.
‘We have been able to secure the release of the ship and its crew in 99 days after it was hijacked, thanks to the frantic diplomatic efforts of the government,’ he said adding that a number of vessels hijacked by Somali pirates 300 or 350 days ago had not been freed as yet.
He said the ship’s operator incurred a loss of $2 million due to the hijack of the ship, but denied having paid any ransom to secure the release of the vessel and its crew.  Asked if the government had paid the ransom, he said he was not aware of it.
Families of the crewmen back home heaved a sigh of relief after receiving the news of the release of the vessel.
Somali pirates hijacked MV Jahan Moni with its 25 crew and the wife of its chief engineer in the Arabian Sea on December 5 on its way to Greece from Indonesia.
The vessel anchored off Somali coast on December 11 while the pirates contacted the officials of the owning company on December 12 for the first time when several crew members were also allowed to talk with their family members.
The ship’s crew released by the pirates are chief engineer of the vessel Matiul Mawla, 61, his wife Rukhsana Gulzer, 52, second engineer Mohammad Main Uddin, 26, electrical engineer Sahabu Alam, 43, Fakhrul Islam, 63, fireman Mohammed Elias, 32, deck fitter Mohammed Idris, 38, and engine fitter Mohammed Mohiuddin, 32, chief officer Abu Naser, 31, second officer GM Noor-e-Alam, 28, third engineer Subrata Kumar Mandal, 44, third officer Kamrul Hossain, 45, deck cadet Shariful Islam, 27, captain Farid Ahmed, 56, engine cadet Shahriar Rabbi, 22, bosun Ruhul Amin, 51, steward Rabiul Islam, 25, AB seaman Abdul Fattah, 51, Kibria Ahmed, 25,  fourth engineer Tariqul Islam, 31, AB seaman Emdad Hossain, 50, AB seaman Nazim Uddin, 35, chief cook Moshiur Rahman, 32, general steward Jashim Uddin, 30, junior electric engineer Abul Hossain,
27, and engineer Abul Basher, 27.


With the Input From New Age

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