Made ‘significant progress’ on the rescue of the MV Abdullah, its crew: FM

Hasan Mahmud hopes there won’t be any food shortages in the ship like in the past

Published : 28 March 2024, 12:52 PM
Updated : 28 March 2024, 12:52 PM

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud says progress has been made on the rescue of the MV Abdullah, the ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates, and the 23 members of its crew.

Asked about the situation at the foreign ministry on Thursday, he told the media, “I only want to say this about the vessel – we are in the middle of discussions regarding the release of the sailors.”

“We are acting on multiple fronts with the aim of rescuing the sailors unharmed and, at the same time, salvaging the vessel. We’ve come a long way. That’s all I can say.”

The MV Abdullah is the latest of nearly two dozen vessels that have been attacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean since November.

On Mar 12, it was carrying nearly 55,000 tonnes of coal from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates when it was captured by pirates. The pirates took the crew – composed of 23 Bangladeshi nationals – hostage.

Asked about the possibility of a food shortage on the vessel, Mahmud said, “There weren’t food shortages when vessels were previously hijacked. Not when they were held hostage for three years, or even when they were taken for 100. I hope there won’t be a shortage this time either.”

The hijacked vessel is currently anchored 1.5 nautical miles from the Jifal coast in the Nugal region of Somalia’s Puntland. A warship of the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR)’s Operation ATALANTA is deployed nearby.

Many believe the release of the sailors and the ship can be hastened as the pirates are under pressure from the Puntland police and the EUNAVFOR.