Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh makes 1st contact with Somali pirates, seeks release of 23 sailors

On March 12, armed pirates hijacked Bangladesh-flagged cargo vessel in Indian Ocean

SM Najmus Sakib  | 20.03.2024 - Update : 20.03.2024
Bangladesh makes 1st contact with Somali pirates, seeks release of 23 sailors File Photo

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has made its first contact with the Somali pirates to start negotiations for the safe return of 23 sailors held hostage since March 12, officials in Dhaka told Anadolu.

“The official we have assigned made his first contact with the leader of the pirates onboard the hijacked ship,” Mohammad Maksud Alam, the director general at Bangaldesh's Department of Shipping, told Anadolu on Wednesday.

Earlier, on March 12, the cargo ship named MV Abdullah, carrying coal from Mozambique's Maputo port to Al Hamriyah Port of UAE, was hijacked by some Somali pirates.

“We conveyed to the pirates that we want a safe return of our nationals. Negotiations are expected to initiate,” he said.

The 23 hostage sailors of the Bangladeshi ship also spoke to their families, said the official.

"They are fine and healthy."

“We certainly are against any military operation,” said Alam.

Md. Anam Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers' Association, told Anadolu there are separate members of a pirate group, who are assigned to hijack, contact, and initiate negotiation.

“We are yet to confirm which groups are contacting but initiating the contact is a good sign,” he said.

The hijacked vessel belongs to Bangladeshi SR Shipping Lines.

Earlier, in 2010, another vessel of SR Shipping was hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea.

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