MV Abdullah returns, approaching Kutubia coast

Elated sailors on the deck of MV Abdullah with the national flagFrom Atiq Ullah Khan's Facebook page

MV Abdullah reached Bangladesh's maritime territory today, Monday afternoon, nearly a month after being released from the clutches of high-sea pirates. The vessel is likely to anchor at the Kutubdia along the shore of Bay of Bengal this evening.  MV Abdullah's Captain Mohammad Abdur Rashid informed Prothom Alo of the matter.

Captain Mohammad Abdur Rashid sent a WhatsApp message at 3:00pm Monday afternoon on Prothom Alo, saying that they had crossed the Cox's Bazar coast. They hoped to anchor at Kutubdia at seven  in the evening.

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MV Abdullah has to anchor at the Kutubdia coast as such a large vessel cannot  moor at the port jetty. The vessel is carrying 56,391 tonnes of limestone. This has increased the ship's draft (length of portion under water) to 12.5 metres, equal to four storeys.

According to KSRM Group, due to the draft of the vessel, a portion of the cargo will first be unloaded at Kutubdia. After that it will be taken to the port area near Patenga in the Bay of Bengal. The remaining cargo will be unloaded there. That means, though MV Abdullah has reached Bangladesh's maritime territory, the 23 sailors on board will have ben wait one more day before returning to their families.

When asked when the sailors will be able to return, KSRM Group deputy managing director Shahriar Jahan told Prothom Alo at 3:00pm today, Monday, that 23 sailors will join the vessel today. These new sailors will shortly start for Kutubdia, he said. Once they join MV Kutubdia, the sailors who have been released from hostage will hand of their duties to them. Once all the procedures are complete, the MV Abdullah sailors will likely reached the KSRM jetty at Sadarghat by Tuesday afternoon.

On 12 March Somali pirates hijacked the vessel of KSRM Group from the India Ocean. After paying ransom, the vessel was finally released after 33 days on 13 April. The vessel then went at first to the Al-Hamiriya port in the United Arab Emirates. After unloading cargo there, it loaded a consignment of limestone and start off for Chattogram. It reached Bangladesh waters after 13 days from its release.

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