Somali Pirates Demand USD 5 Million Ransom For Release Of Hijacked MV Abdullah’s Crew

Bulk Carrier
Representation Image

Somali Pirates on board the hijacked MV Abdullah have demanded an enormous ransom of $5 million (₹420 million) in exchange for the release of 23 members of the Bangladeshi crew held hostage.

The ship, which was carrying the flag of Bangladesh, was taken over by pirates earlier this month while it was travelling from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates. The pirates then took the ship to Somalia.

In response to the piracy attack on March 14, the Indian Navy quickly deployed a warship and a long-range maritime patrol aircraft to intercept the hijacked vessel. They made sure that the captured Bangladeshi crew were initially safe and stayed close to the ship until it reached Somalia’s territorial waters.

Adm R Hari Kumar, the chief of the Indian Navy, said that since the MV Abdullah was brought to Somalia, the navy has been constantly observing the vessel’s condition. He underlined how pirates might use the ship as a “mother ship”.

The Bangladeshi government and the ship’s owner have refused offers from the Indian Navy and the European Union to carry out rescue operations on the MV Abdullah. The pirates constantly communicate with the ship owner and request a ransom in exchange for the crew’s release.

MV Abdullah
Image Credits: Indian Navy/Twitter

Captain Sakhawat Hossain, the general secretary of the Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers Association, confirmed that every sailor is doing well, and some have even contacted their families. The pirates are positioned inside the ship, anchored near the coast.

The pirates have hired an English-speaking intermediary to settle a ransom with the ship’s owner. Negotiations are still in progress, but no deal has been struck yet.

According to reports, Somali pirates equipped with heavy artillery fired warning rounds as European Union naval forces approached the MV Abdullah. There are growing concerns about the crew’s health due to a lack of necessary supplies.

Despite the presence of armed troops on the ship, the owner, the Kabir Group, remains committed to seeking a peaceful conclusion for the sailors’ safe return. They are against any armed campaign that could compromise the crew’s safety.

Shakhawat Hossain, general secretary of the Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers’ Association, highlighted the value of peaceful conflict resolution while pointing out that military action puts seamen, ships, and their cargo in danger. He admitted that the EU naval force was psychologically pressuring the pirates.

Still, he emphasised that foreign operations involving Bangladeshi ships would require Bangladesh’s approval. As things develop, protecting the crew’s safety and arranging their release via diplomatic channels will continue to be the top priorities.

Reference: WION

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