Two days before his 59th birthday, Mansingh Mohite got the most special gift of all — his son Ganesh came back home after spending more than two years at the mercy of Somalian pirates who had hijacked the ship he was on in 2010.
The 26-year-old was among the sailors on board the MV Iceberg, which was hijacked on March 29, 2010, off the Yemen coast. Four other Indian sailors also returned to their loved ones on Sunday.
The Mohite family, which lives in Kopar Khairane, said it was hope that kept them going.
Mansingh, who worked in the revenue department of the state goverment at Old Custom House retired on Sunday. “I could not have asked for a better retirement and birthday present. We have had to wait very long for this day. God has answered our prayers,” he said, blinking back tears of relief and joy.
A visibly weak Ganesh said, “It was a terrible ordeal. They had demanded 10 million dollars in ransom. We were, however, rescued by the Somalian forces on December 10 and handed over to the Indian embassy on December 23.
We were on the ship the whole time.”
Speaking of the trials he had to face, Ganesh said, “We were given just enough dry rice to survive and a litre of water every three days. We had no strength left.”
Scared and often beaten, all he could depend on was prayers, he said. But now that he’s home, he will just spend some time recuperating till he figures out what he wants to do next. “I was 23 years old when the ship was hijacked. I am yet to get over the whole experience. I will just relax now.”
Going back to sailing is definitely not on the cards. “That [sailing] is one thing I have decided I will not do. Things are not good on the ship. I will not go.”
Swapnil Jadhav, another sailor from Maharahstra, was on the ship with Ganesh. On Sunday, Jadhav came home to relatives in Ghansoli