By Joseph R. Fonseca
Yesterday, 16th September 2014, Chirag Bahri, MPHRP’s Regional Director for South Asia, attended a ceremonial event organised by the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh to facilitate financial help to the 7 Bangladeshi crew members of MV Albedo.
The event was held at the Ministry of Shipping’s office in Secretariat, Dhaka. It was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Shipping, Mr Shahjahan Khan, Mr Shahriar Alam – Honourable Minister of State – Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Shipping, Rear Admiral Khurshed Alam – Secretary of Maritime Affairs – Foreign Affairs, Commodore M Zakiur Rahman Bhuiyan – Director General of Shipping, Chirag Bahri – MPHRP Regional Director South Asia and other distinguished guests from the Department of Shipping, Foreign Affairs, industry representatives, press and print media.
The Director General of Shipping welcomed all dignitaries and thanked MPHRP Chair Dr Peter Swift and Chirag Bahri for being leaders in providing humanitarian support to piracy affected seafarers and their families. He credited MPHRP and UNODC for rescuing the 7 Bangladeshi seafarers of MV Albedo from the captivity of Somali pirates. Rear Admiral Khurshed Alam, while thanking MPHRP and UNODC for their crucial humanitarian support, hoped that the Shipping Department will also look into the other issues of these 7 crew relating to the documents and seatime dispensation.
Chirag Bahri thanked the Government of Bangladesh on behalf of MPHRP for their generous support to the seafarers of Albedo. He mentioned that no one can even imagine the suffering of these seafarers and their families, but the support provided by the Government of Bangladesh along with the industry and unions will help them to recover from the trauma. He also requested and hoped that the issues pertaining to document dispensation be resolved at the earliest opportunity so that the seafarers can again get back to shipping as their career and start their livelihood.
The Minister of Shipping and Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme for bringing back their nationals and giving them a new life. While thanking Chirag Bahri, who was representing MPHRP, the Shipping Minister assured that his Government will look after all issues of the affected seafarers and will try its best to facilitate them at earliest.
The Minister of Shipping then handed over cheques to all 7 seafarers as a gesture of financial humanitarian support. He said that this money cannot compensate for the difficult and hard ordeal suffered by the crew in captivity but hoped that it will help them to look after their present and future life.
MPHRP had earlier requested the Government of Bangladesh to consider to provide such humanitarian assistance to the piracy affected Seafarers.