Roy Paul, MPHRP Programme Director, and Chirag Bahri, MPHRP Regional Director for South Asia, met with 2 Indian officers of the MT Matrix along with the crewing manager in Mumbai on 19th November 2013. MT Matrix was earlier boarded by Nigerian pirates on 9th October 2013 who abducted 4 Indian senior officers including the Master. The crew were later released after an undisclosed ransom payment was paid by the operators and a deal was stuck with the Nigerian pirates after 28 days of captivity.
Captain Sandeep, Manager, Oceanic Shipping, led the negotiations on behalf of the company and was in regular touch with Chirag Bahri (MPHRP) during the ordeal period. Captain Sandeep said, ‚ÄúIt was indeed a very difficult phase for the company, the crew and their families. We are thankful to MPHRP for their very important support to us.‚Äù
Chirag Bahri said, ‚ÄúMPHRP welcomes the release and safe homecoming of all 4 Indian crew members of MT Matrix. We were able to reassure the family members and advised them on the best practices that they should follow during this period. We also shared the MPHRP Good Practice Guide with the company managers and appreciate their response to the crisis situation.‚Äù
Captain Biradar (Master) and Mr Ajal Kale (Chief Officer) attended the meeting with the MPHRP team and briefed them on the hardships faced by the crew during the month long ordeal. They shared that pirates behaved normally during the daytime but were very aggressive during night due to their intake of drugs. They had lived in a hut in a swamp area and were constantly guarded by at least 10 heavily armed pirates. The crew were provided with one 80 gram packet of noodles to eat per day and survived on just minimum food and water. Although there was not much physical abuse, mistreatment and mental trauma was enormous.
The Master, Chief Officer and their families thanked MPHRP for their continuous humanitarian support to those affected by piracy during the crisis and post release.