Family reacts to Satnam's return after 11 mts in Somali custody
There were jubilations in Sham Nagar when local youth Satnam Singh reached home on Friday evening after spending 11 harrowing months in the custody of Somali pirates. Dev Sarup Mathur reports.world Updated: Jun 24, 2011 19:50 IST
There were jubilations in Sham Nagar when local youth Satnam Singh reached home on Friday evening after spending 11 harrowing months in the custody of Somali pirates.
It was amidst beating of drums and firing of crackers that his overwhelmed parents Shamsher Singh and Surinder Kaur and his sister Amandeep Kaur received him.
Sailor Satnam along with 22 other crew members were made hostage when their Cargo Ship MV Suez of Red Sea Navigation of an Egyptian Shipping Company was held hostage at Gulf of Aden on August 2, 2010.
Narrating his ordeal Satnam told Hindustan Times that initially five fully armed pirates had hijacked the ship and later 30 other sea robbers had joined them adding that during this period they were constantly kept under death threat.
He said that after they were made captive, the pirates contacted the company for ransom amount but the company did not take interest adding that later translators were provided with directions to contact our families and countries for the amount.
Satnam said that all their electronic gadgets were confiscated and they survived only on boiled rice and macroni adding that due to government indifference and huge amount involved they had lost hope of survival.
He profusely thanked Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney and his trust which had had raised the ransom amount totaling $2.1million.
In reply to a question he told that the ransom amount was dropped by Al Fakira Air Company of Jabouti in Africa and we were made to stand on deck for counting and our photographs were taken adding that only after our safety was ensured that the amount was dropped.
Satnam said that after their release on June 14 again different group of pirates had attacked their ship which he claimed they had thwarted with shackles and other weapons.
He said that at Karachi, the Pakistani officials had received them warmly while at Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday only an assistant of Shipping ministry was present.
When asked about his next task, grim faced Satnam said that he would make efforts to seek the release of 40 Indians who are amongst 300 still held captives by the pirates.
He said that 27 ships were hostage while there were 7 Indians in ship Iceberg of Yemen for the past 19 months.
Unrest in Egypt during this period also contributed to their woes as no help came from that government despite 11 Egyptians were on board he added.
Flaying the government, Shamsher said that they had met even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for their release but he had expressed his helplessness adding that Pakistani activist relentless pursued their case.
First Published: Jun 24, 2011 19:43 IST