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Another Dehradun boy captured in Somalia

india Updated: Mar 04, 2009 23:44 IST
Abhinav Madhwal
Abhinav Madhwal
Hindustan Times
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Barely a month and a half after Captain Prabhat Kumar Goyal of the MT Stolt Valor came back to Dehradun to a hero's welcome after spending 64 days in captivity in Somalia; the pirates captured another seaman from Dehradun in the same country. And he has still not been released.

The house of Colonel D.K. Bhattacharjee at Indira Nagar colony here presents a sombre picture. For, the son of the house is somewhere in Somalia and it's been more then two months since he had called home.

Anupam Bhattacharjee (25) was hijacked off the coast of Somalia on January 2 this year along with the crew of the Sea Princess II, which was carrying petroleum products and oil from Yemen. There were eight Indian seamen among the 17-member crew.

According to Anupam's mother Ruma Bhattacharji, she had a chat with him on January 1, after which his next call came on January 10. It was a very brief conversation, but it shook the ground beneath her feet when he said, "Momma, my ship has been hijacked. I am fine and the crew is also safe. Do not talk to me over the phone."

Ruma said, "I used to hear that ships were being hijacked near the Gulf of Aden and used to be worried as my son also frequented that route. But he would always tell me on the phone that their ship won't be hijacked as they operated from Yemen and the Somalians had good relations with them."

She said some days before their ship was hijacked, Anupam called her up to say that the navy patrols had informed their ship of some small vessels moving around their ship. He said the men in these boats had come on board and informed that they were fishermen. Ruma said she had cautioned her son that they could be pirates out on a reconnaissance mission. A few days later, the hijacking took place.

Ruma said they called up the shipping company at Yemen and were informed that the hijackers had asked for three million dollars in ransom. The company said it could not spare such a big amount and negotiations were taking place.

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