“The Pirates who held us hostage kept all six of us in one room. On several occasions they chained us, often naked and beat us up. We were forced to drink sea water which was mixed with petrol or diesel,” said Kalyan resident Sachin Pawse who was rescued from MV Suez where he worked as a boiler attendant.
Pawse was among the six Indian sailors who were captured. The ordeal for the Indian sailors began in the early hours of August 2, 2010 when MV Suez a Panama flagged merchant vessel was attacked and captured by Somali pirates. The MV Suez, which was carrying cement, was heading from Pakistan to Eritrea and all attempts to contact the vessel failed.
Matter became worse when the pirates demanded a ransom of five million dollars from the owner of the vessel and were eventually paid 2.1 millions dollars.
For Pawse, who has finally returned home, the recollection of the 10-month long horrifying ordeal leaves him shuddering. “They would give us rice and potatoes to eat. We were at the mercy of their moods. Just when we had given up hope, we were rescued by the Pakistani Navy,” said Pawse.
Pawse credited the Pakistani Navy for their humanitarian efforts, which led to their rescue.
“We would not have survived if it wasn’t for the Pakistani government, who rescued us from clutches of the Somali pirates,” said Pawse.
Sumitra Pawse, Sachin’s mother said, “We are grateful to the Pakistani government and Navy. They are the reason why my son is with me.”
The joy of seeing Sachin back home extended well beyond his family to residents who live in the same area as him.
Sachin’s neighbours and people from the adjoining areas wore their happiness on their sleeve as they danced and distributed sweets any one who visited the locality. “It was like Diwali,” said an excited Sachin.
The Pakistani naval ship PNS Zulfiqar that had rescued the crew of MV Suez reached Karachi harbour on Thursday.
The Indian sailors returned to India on Friday.
The MV Suez sank after being stranded for days just few kilometres away off the cost of Oman.