Torture, suspense…Oriya sailor’s encounter with pirates of Aden

February 3rd, 2009 - 11:53 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 3 (IANS) “They tortured us…threatened to kill us,” says Himanshu Kar. The youth from Orissa was one of the crew members on board a vessel hijacked by Somali pirates off the Gulf of Aden.”Around six hijackers armed with guns came in a small boat. They fired on our ship and damaged the front glasses before they climbed on our ship and took us hostage at gunpoint,” Kar, who was released after nearly two months in captivity and arrived home last week, told IANS.

“For two days they kept us near the Aden coast. Later they took our ship to the Somalia coast where 20 more armed people joined them,” said Kar, a resident of Damodarpur in the coastal district of Balasore, some 220 km from here.

Kar, 29, was one of the 31 crew members on board the MT Biscaglia, a Liberian flagged vessel that was hijacked Nov 28.

“The pirates were between 20 and 30 years of age. They were using our uniform on the vessel. Initially they tortured some of the crew members and forced them to sleep on the floor, but later they improved their behaviour,” Kar recalled.

“We all were kept inside the wheel house and all the pirates were guarding us with AK 47s and other sophisticated weapons. It was a horrible experience for all of us,” Kar, who was among 25 Indian crew members, said about the suspense.

“They were threatening to kill us if they did not get the ransom they were demanding,” he said.

Kar, who does not want to remember those days, thanks god and the shipping authority, the Indian officials and the state and central governments for helping them.

“I thank the ship company, our government and officials who worked hard to free us,” Kar said.

Rabi Charan Kar, his father, and other family members were overjoyed when the son returned home.

“We were informed by a shipping company official from Mumbai about the release of my son. I am happy that he returned home finally,” Rabi Charan said.

Besides Indians, there were three Bangladeshis, two Britons and an Irish sailor on the vessel. The Britons and the Irish national escaped after they jumped into the sea after being attacked and were later rescued.

The chemical tanker carrying 16,282 tonnes of cargo was going to Spain. It was hijacked while travelling between Indonesia and Europe, Kar said. The pirates released the ship along with the crew members Jan 22.

(Jatindra Dash can be contacted at jatindra.d@ians.in)

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