Surviving Somali Pirates with Savvy and Serenity - MV Abdullah's Tale of Triumph

DailySun || Shining BD

Published: 4/17/2024 5:09:13 AM

The experience of staying in captivity of the notorious Somali pirates was different for the vessel “MV Abdullah’s” seasoned Captain Mohammed Abdur Rashid as he had to handle the total situation and guide his colleagues on board with a “cool brain” for their safe release. 

“It is now like a dream for us that we all are returning to the destination together in a safe manner and unharmed,” Captain Rashid told the Daily Sun in an interview over the phone on Tuesday evening. 

He also shared the experiences they endured during the 32 days of captivity before their release on April 14.

They were traversing the high-risk piracy zone in the Indian Ocean, under escort by European Union naval ships, during the conversation with this correspondent.


Tried to prevent pirates at the beginning

There was widespread criticism about the safety measures in the vessels that could save them from the pirate's attack.

Describing the moments of the pirate's attack, the captain said they executed different methods to avoid piracy.

“We conducted the zigzag course and sprayed water. One of the pirates’ boats also got damaged with the hit by our ship during the zigzag course,” he said. 

“Since we were passing through far away from the high-risk area of piracy in the Indian Ocean there was no need to apply any safety measure required to prevent the pirate's attack,” said Rashid. 

“We maintained close contact with our office in Bangladesh and the concerned officials from the owning authority helped us round-the-clock to handle the situation,” he mentioned. 


Developed close relations with pirates to have advantages 

“I tried to handle the total situation with cool brain and out of the excitement to pave the way for a safe return as we knew that the pirates usually don’t hurt the captive crewmen,” he said.   

They earlier also heard of harassing the crews in different ways by the pirates.

Though the pirates kept their guns pointed to the crews round-the-clock at the beginning, their behaviours started changing as the crews were cooperating with them in every issue.

“Things started changing from this point and they allowed us in the cabins in the day hours and offered prayers, taking iftar and sehri in a relaxed mood.” 

The crews’ piousness and attitude also fascinated the pirates who were also Muslim community.

“As some of our mobile phones were kept hidden, we used to communicate with our families secretly using the wifi. It helped the family to heave a sigh of relief,” said the captain.    


Naval ships put pressure on pirates 

The naval ships of India and the EU attempted to intercept the MV Abdulla since it fell victim to piracy.

When the vessels neared the hijacked one and asked to surrender the pirates, they (pirates) pointed guns at the crew members.

They asked the captain to talk to the navy ships over the VHF set and tell them to leave the area. Otherwise, they threatened to kill the seamen.

At one stage, the naval ships refrained from doing anything but followed the vessel till close to the Somali coast. 

“The naval ship is still following us on our way back to the destination. We have now mental strength that none can attack us more and we are safe,” said the captain.


Viral photo of Eid day turns nightmarish 

The pirates’ gang monitored the news and social media posts regarding the MV Abdullah regularly. 

Following normal and cooperative behaviours from the crews, the pirates allowed the hostages to offer Eid prayer together and shoot a photo. 

“As the photo went viral on social media, they realised that we are secretly using devices and internet connection,” said Captain Rashid.

Shining BD