Happy Homecoming

So what does it feel like to be freed from Somali pirates? “It’s like rebirth,” said ABM Giasuddin Azam Khan, the second engineer of a German tanker, on his return home after a hostage ordeal lasting some eight months.

He also said he was able to talk to the crew members of the hijacked Bangladeshi ship MV Jahan Moni, which was anchored close to their ship, and they are all well.

Like them, the crew of MV Jahan Moni would also be released soon if the ransom is paid, he hoped.

Giasuddin was among 22 crew members of the German vessel MT Marida Marguerite which was hijacked by Somali pirates on May 8 last year and was released on December 28. His family got the news of the ship’s release the same day but their anxious wait ended yesterday.

Another Bangladeshi crew of the ship and its Chief Officer Jafar Iqbal would come back within a few days after completion of some procedures, Giasuddin said.

Over 30 family members of Giasuddin were waiting anxiously at the Chittagong Shah Aamanat International Airport yesterday afternoon for his arrival on board an Oman Airlines flight.

Shirin Akhter, mother of Giasuddin, said since her son called Friday to tell her when he was coming home, she has not been able to sleep.

Giasuddin’s wife Bibi Fatema, failing to pave her way through the huge crowd at the airport, could only exchange smiles with her husband when the two got on a microbus at the airport.

In the evening, Giasuddin briefly shared his experiences with the journalists at their CDA Colony home in the port city’s Mehedibagh.

He said around 50 armed Somali pirates hijacked their ship.

“Though the pirates were equipped with modern arms like AK-47, machine guns and others, they never misbehaved with us and arranged water and Somali food when our stock ran out,” he said.

“Hijacking ships for ransom is nothing but a business to them [Somali pirates], he said, adding that if the owner company pays their demanded ransom today they would release the ship tomorrow.

Giasuddin said they saw seven to eight hijacked ships including Bangladeshi Jahan Moni anchored around them.

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