This original story was published by ISWAN, South Asia
Excruciating 70 days in captivity:
An Indian seafarer, Mr. Chaudhary, who was recently released from the captivity of Nigerian pirates shared his traumatic and horrific ordeal with ISWAN South Asia (India). ISWAN India contacted the seafarer and offered humanitarian support on behalf of the programme. During the conversation, he sounded positive despite several physical aberrations e.g. loss of 20kg weight, huge deficiency of haemoglobin and ECR rise due to multiple infections in his body etc. His elaborations on his experience confirmed that he along with his other crew members went through one of the worst awful ordeals during 70 day’s period of captivity. His experience portrayed as follows:
Mr. Chaudhary had joined a Mumbai based shipping company named K Ship in November 2018. The ship was assigned to him to sail through the dangerous waters of Nigeria with a total of 15 crew members on it, out of which 6 were Indians and 9 others were Nigerian and Ghanaians. In April 2019, his ship was attacked by pirates when Mr. Chaudhary was relaxing in his cabin post-lunch. Before he could understand anything, the thundering sound of gunshots made him feared and the pirates stepped into his cabin in the broad
daylight. This was the time when the ship was waiting at outer anchorage for permission to enter into the inner anchorage. The pirates took Mr. Chaudhary along with 6 others crew members in their custody, among them 5 were Indians and 2 others were Nigerians which included Nigerian Captain. The whole incident took merely 15 minutes through which pirates were successfully able to execute their plans. The crew were traced and taken off from the ship in such a short span of time. While pirates were forcibly taking the crew to leave the vessel, Mr. Chaudhary recalled that there were at least 6 or 7 naval ships sailing around but there was no retaliatory action taken by them against the pirates despite they were aware of the piracy attack on the ship.
The 7 crew members were blindfolded and were taken by boat to a remote place. After around 5-6 hours of sailing, they reached a new isolated destination, where they all were kept in a hut throughout the night. The next morning, all 5 Indian seafarers were shifted little away from the hut on top of a wooden platform, made amidst the bushes without a roof, while the two Nigerian seafarers were kept in the hut. Mr Chaudhary shared a horrific instance when they were shown human skeletons all around that area and pirates intimidated the Indian captives that if they try to flee, their consequences will be the same. The weather in the place was quite humid and rainy and as there was no roof to protect them, they use to get completely drenched whenever it rained. Mr. Chaudhary was shirtless when he was taken away from the ship and thereafter he spent the whole duration of captivity in the same condition. The sign of mosquito bites could be seen all over his body.
The group of 5 Indian crew members were offered scanty edibles. During the whole day, only 1 bowl of Noodles was offered, which they used to share among themselves. It used to be hardly 1 or 2 spoons each crew, narrated Mr Chaudhary and that they had to drink muddy rainwater for their survival. The other two Nigerian captives were being treated altogether in different ways. They were offered with 3-time meals, mineral water, wine, cigarettes, mosquito nets etc. The place was full of mosquitoes, sun flies and other insects including snakes therefore it was quite difficult for them to lay down on the floor and go asleep. Recalling his ordeal, Mr. Chaudhary expressed, throughout the period of captivity, he couldn’t take more than 15 minutes of a nap at a stretch. The pirates were quite violent in nature, remained intoxicated all the time and frequently use to slap and hit with gun buts to all the Indian hostages. The pirates were equipped with sophisticated weapons like RPGs, Grenade launcher, AK-56 rifles, Machine Guns etc. and never use to establish any communication with them. The hostages were totally on the mercy of their destiny. Despite realizing their escape is difficult and to keep themselves calm and positive, they use to pray and give false assurances and illusionary optimism of their release and remembered their past happy times that they had spent with their loved ones.
More part of the story can be read here: ISWAN South Asia