Capt Philips - others are not as fortunate

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I’m using  Captain Philip’s as a reference in my starticle because his story is pretty much the only that reached a wider audience. He and his crew were held captive for a few days and their tale was turned into an instant Hollywood blockbuster movie that made it to the Oscars.  

What most do not know is that normally other ships are hijacked and the crew is held hostage for months that turn into years, some of whom never return?
There are many heartbreaking stories of crew members that are untold, some of which remain an unsolved mystery for their loved ones. Nobody knows what happens to sailors that never make it to land.

First of all, most ships are released by ransom than by force. There have been several cases where the owners of the hijacked vessels have abandoned their ship, along with their crew to save themselves from paying a heavy ransom.

My father is also a Captain. His ship was hijacked in 2010 and sank in 2012. It was the second longest pirate hijacking in maritime history. The youngest of them was Kumar, a 22 year old Indian seaman who was on his first voyage. When the pirates’ call went unanswered by the owner, it triggered them to indulge in what they do easily – kill. They picked Kumar like how a shepherd chooses a sheep from his herd and shot him in the heart within few seconds.

My father is haunted by the young man’s death to date. He says these pirates have no feelings; they prey on innocent merchant seamen for money.  My father himself was trussed up with rope and lowered into the sea as pirates sprayed bullets around him. Other times they would open fire above his head, smashing glasses, to terrorize him so he puts pressure on the owner or his loved ones to pay ransom. The sailors were beaten with pipes, gun butts and even locked in containers or small cabins for months.  The pirates also tore at the skin of their palms with pliers.

MV Leopard was hijacked in 2011, only 6 crew members were released after endure two years of pain and torture. Nobody knows to date what really happened to the rest of the crew.  MV Iceberg was held for nearly 3 years by pirates. The third officer out of utter desperation ended his agony by committing suicide. He jumped into the ocean and took his life. Another who tried to drown himself was fished out and locked in a room for five months as punishment.  

There is one thing common in these hijacking cases; no navy came to rescue them. They were left alone at the mercy of dangerous pirates. There are several other hostages left to perish at the dust of their feet. Some have been there since 2010 and never heard of again. 

I respect the Americans for taking immediate action to rescue their citizens. Jessica Buchana is another American who was kidnapped by Somali pirates and militants. The news reached Barack Obama, President of the their country who personally called the abducted lady's father. After 3 months US Navy SEAL carried out a daring rescue mission by parachuting into Somalia's danger territory and launched raid. 9 pirates were killed and some were captured in the gun bottle. Navy SEAL officers risked their lives to save ONE victim. 

Unfortunately, victims that belong to developing countries pay a far heavier price for the inescapable identity that they hold. I have attended anti-piracy conferences and measures are being taken by some countries to defeat piracy - but the super powers haven't played such a major role in this fight. 

Piracy is a multi-billion dollar business but the human cost is seldom discussed. Human cost of piracy in the high seas face violence , psychological damage, physical abuse and even death. These sailors continue to stay unprotected in sea. 

You can view the documentary I took part in along with other victims to tell our story :


I believe starticles is a platform where you get to reach out to people without going through the hassle of running a blog. It's fast and brilliant! 



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