Hijacked ship MV Abdullah has food supplies for 25 days

Kabir Group owns the 190-metre sea-going vesselCollected

The Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier MV Abdullah that has been seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean has food supplies for about 25 days as 200 tonnes of drinking water.

Chief officer of the ship Md Atiqullah Khan sent this information to the ship owner Kabir Group of Industries in an audio message on Tuesday after the pirates took control of the vessel.

In the audio message, Atiqullah Khan was heard saying, “We have food supplies of 20-25 days, 200 tonnes of drinking water. There are also 55,000 tonnes of coal in the ship. All crew members have been advised to avoid unnecessary usage of the stock.”

The MV Abdullah with 23 Bangladeshi crews on board was sailing from Mozambique’s capital Maputo to the United Arab Emirates with a cargo of 55,000 tonnes of coals and was attacked by the Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean waters around 1:30 pm Tuesday Bangladesh time.

Chattogram-based SR Shipping, a subsidiary of Kabir Group of Industries, owns the ship.

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It has been learned after talking to Kabir Group officials, the pirates have made no communication to the ship owners yet. Considering the situation, crew members will have to depend on this food supplies till their release.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said in its website that the piracy took place 600 nautical miles east off the coast of Mogadishu, capital of Somali. The pirates arrived by two boats and seized the control of the ship. The UKMTO also advised caution to other vessels in the area.

Ship officers informed the owners in audio messages that the pirates were taking the vessel to the Somali coast.

Kabir Group media advisor Mizanul Islam told Prothom Alo, “We are giving the utmost importance on the security of the sailors. The pirates did not harm the crews, who have been fine. We are trying our best so that sailors face no trouble.”

Replying to a query on how the ship crew will tackle the situation once the food supplies run out, Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers' Association general secretary Shakawat Hossain told Prothom Alo that crew members will have to ration the foods, and 200 tonnes of drinking water might run for a month. If rationed, foods and drinking water may last for few more days, but there should not be any problem on fuel, he added.

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Shakawat Hossain said there will be no problem over foods and fuel as soon as ship and crew are released. Besides, pirates arrange necessary foods and water after taking the ship to the coast.

Earlier on 5 December 2010, Somali pirates hijacked the group’s another ship, MV Jahan Moni. Kabir Group got back the ship paying a ransom after three months.

*This report appeared in the online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna