Somali pirates fire blank shots, signalling their position: Crew members facing food crisis

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Staff Reporter :
The tense standoff on the high seas continues as Somali pirates aboard the Bangladeshi ship MV Abdullah resort to firing blank shots to signal their location, closely trailed by warships from the European Union navy and the Indian navy.

A harrowing account from one of the Bangladeshi crew members reveals the gravity of the situation, stating that the pirates, armed with weapons capable of downing aircraft, have heightened their surveillance over the pirated vessel, exacerbating the already critical shortage of drinkable water and food supplies.

With restrictions placed on cabin usage and everyone compelled to share a single toilet, conditions on board have reached a desperate state.

The presence of armed pirates numbering between 30 and 35 has intensified since the EU navy and the Indian navy began closely monitoring the MV Abdullah’s movements.

Disturbing reports emerge as photos of the pirates wielding aircraft-shooting weapons circulate, underscoring the perilous predicament faced by the crew.

Despite confirmation of the warship’s presence by the EU naval force, details regarding the operation remain shrouded in secrecy.

Meanwhile, a glimpse into the unfolding drama emerges through released footage and images, showcasing the EU naval force’s Operation Atalanta, positioned mere nautical miles away from the Bangladeshi ship Jimmy.

Helicopters hover over the vessel, indicating the heightened state of vigilance and efforts to maintain surveillance. Despite earlier communication from the EU Naval Force regarding an operation to rescue the Bangladeshi ship, consent from Bangladeshi authorities remains elusive.

In a firm stance, the owners of the hijacked cargo vessel MV Abdullah, represented by Mizanul Islam, media advisor to the Kabir Group, have declined a rescue operation proposal from the European Union.

The proposal suggested using a naval ship deployed in nearby waters to ensure the safety of the hostage sailors.

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Mizanul Islam emphasised, “Our top priority is the safe return of the sailors. Hence, we oppose any raid or violent action.

We do not endorse activities that endanger their lives.”

Regarding the deployment of EU warships, he stated, “We do not have a stance on the deployment of EU naval vessels. It is an internal matter for them.”

Prioritising the safety of the crew, the authorities of MV Abdullah aim to establish communication with the pirates through third parties. Their first priority is to resupply food and water for both the crew members and the pirates, recognising the rapid depletion of shared supplies.

The authorities of MV Abdullah have successfully established communication with the pirates and are optimistic about resolving the crisis promptly.

Despite the passage of 12 days since the hijacking of the ship, the Somali pirates have not yet demanded any ransom for the release of the 23 crew members and the vessel.

On March 12, the MV Abdullah, owned by the Kabir Group, embarked on its journey from Mozambique with 55,000 metric tonnes of coal destined for the United Arab Emirates.

However, en route, the vessel fell victim to Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

In a bid to prioritize a peaceful resolution, the authority of MV Abdullah stands prepared to pay the ransom if requested by the pirates.

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