MPHRP's Assistant Programme Director, Hennie la Grange and Regional Director for South Asia, Chirag Bahri met with the 7 Bangladeshi seafarers of ex MV Albedo at Bangladesh Marine Academy in Chittagong on 21st October 2014.
These seafarers were earlier held in captivity of Somali pirates for about 1300 days and were rescued due to the efforts of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), its partners and UNODC in June 2014.
At the session on 21st October, the seafarers were counselled by Dr Helal, psychiatrist based in Dhaka, during the day long meet at the Academy. The crew looked cheerful and were positive towards their new life and said that their families are also very happy now and indeed relieved. One of the seafarer's father presented a 'shirt' to Chirag Bahri as a mark of respect and gratitude for helping the families during the crisis period.
Most of the seafarers have plans to go back to sea and were reassured of humanitarian support by the MPHRP team so as to be able to appear for their examinations and looking for future jobs on board vessels. The Government of Bangladesh had earlier extended financial support to all these piracy affected seafarers and have pledged to support them with documentation and other related issues.
MPHRP believes that the seafarers who were held hostage by pirates, if provided with good support from their families, close relatives, friends, shipping companies, welfare organisations and their own national Government, will recover from the trauma sooner and will be able to join ships again to resume their normal working life.
MPHRP South Asia thanked the Government of Bangladesh and especially Mr Sajid Hossain, Commandant of Bangladesh Marine Academy, for the humanitarian support to the seafarers and families during the captivity period and post release.
There are believed to be 37 seafarers still held by pirates in Somalia. It is important that they are not forgotten.