The vessel was sailing calmly through the Gulf of Aden and we were 10 days away from home.
I was keen to get home and see my wife and children after almost an entire year.
I was out on the deck working on the port (left) side of the ship. It was a nice, sunny day.
It all happened in a fraction of a second. I noticed three speedboats sailing at speed almost twice that of ours. They intercepted our vessel and threw a rope ladder on board. Under an incessant cover of bullets, they took over.
We were shocked. The crew just dropped everything and scurried indoors.
The sounds of guns going off finally faded and we looked up to find 30 gun-yielding pirates armed with automatic guns, rocket-propelled grenades and Russian-made Kalashinkovs on our vessel.
When negotiations started, the negotiator kept updating us.
We were initially quite sure we would be released. Then the pirates told us they would kill all of us within 24 hours if the company did not agree to their demands. Suddenly, all our hopes were shattered.
We made what we thought were our last calls home. I told my uncle it was my last call and that I would die very soon.
After the ransom was paid, they took more than 12 hours to release us… they spent all that time counting the money and dividing it up.
They used to talk to a lot of other pirates on the phone. They made sure the calls never lasted more than two minutes.
The memories are strong. I think I will have many sleepless nights.