Wait prolonged for release of Bangladeshi crewmen on MV Abdullah

Kabir Group's MV AbdullahCollected

The hijacked Bangladesh flag bearing vessel, MV Abdullah, with 23 Bangladeshi crewmen held hostage by Somali pirates, has remained in the same position off the Somalia coast for the last two days. The ship’s owner company claimed the pirates are yet to make any communication, increasing the wait for the release of Bangladeshi crewmen.

Kabir Group, which owns the vessel, said the ship had moved to near the Somalian coast on Friday and has remained at the same position on Saturday. No information of any contact was received as of Sunday evening.

Kabir Group’s media adviser Mizanul Islam told Prothom Alo today, “We can only say that the crewmen on board the ship are in good health. The ship has remained in one place. But we are yet to make any contact with pirates although we are prepared.”

Also Read

Bangladesh flag bearer MV Jahan Moni was hijacked by Somali pirates 13 years ago. Prothom Alo said that the ship’s master captain Farid Ahmed said the pirates usually make contact within a few days of taking ship into their control. They have representatives to make such contacts. They usually make contact through satellite phones.

Somali pirates hijacked the MV Abdullah ship from the Indian Ocean on Tuesday and took the ship off the coast on Thursday. Later the location of the ship was changed twice. The ship was anchored seven nautical miles away from the shore of Garacad coast in Somalia on Thursday afternoon. Later the pirates took the ship further away as it anchored 40-45 away from the coast on Friday.

Experienced sailors said the process to rescue the ship could not be started as long as the pirates did not make any communication. However, the ship owners have done their part by contacting through various channels.

Ruen rescued, why will MV Abdullah not be rescued then?

Meanwhile, no international agency released any update on the seized Bangladesh ship. However, the Indian Navy said in their X account that the navy rescued the hijacked Maltese-flagged ship MV Ruen from the Somali pirates after concerted actions for 40 hours and evacuated 17 crew members successfully. All 35 pirates on board also surrendered, the Indian Navy said by releasing four videos of the rescue of MV Ruen crew members and the surrender of pirates.

Also Read

Earlier on 14 March, the European Union Naval Force said on their website that the Somalian pirates captured the Maltese vessel MV Ruen on 14 December last year and they might use the MV Ruen to seize the Bangladesh-flagged ship.

Video and images released in X by the Indian Navy on Friday and Saturday showed the naval forces conducting a coordinated operation of fighter planes, helicopters and warships, finally, they ended the operation successfully after 40 hours.

Experienced captains from the marine sector, however, think such an operation to rescue the MV Abdullah will be dangerous. They said the MV Ruen was far away off the Somalia coast, and sailors from many countries were held hostage in the ship. Besides, negotiation with the ship owners might not have worked well. In this circumstance, there is no alternative to conducting an operation despite the risk.

On the other hand, the hijacked MV Abdullah’s owners are Bangladeshi and so are the hostage crewmen. The owners are prioritizing saving lives of the crewmen. That’s why a ship of the European Union Naval Force chased MV Abdullah while the pirates were hijacking the ship but refrained from conducting any rescue operation. The owners did not allow any rescue operation as it could have put the crewmen at risk.

Also Read

Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officer’s Association’s president captain Anam Chowdhury told Prothom Alo that the MV Abdullah is currently anchored near the coast of Somalia. Any country cannot conduct any raid inside the maritime boundary of another country. Also, the pirates might put the lives of the hostages at risk if any such operation is conducted. So, there is no alternative to reach a negotiation so as not to risk the lives of the hostages.