The man who escaped pirates: Captain Jawaid held captive for 18 months

Pakistani went through extreme hardship, torture and abuse

By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Captain Jawaid Khan has been a seafarer for 40 years, undertaking many voyages across the world, but one journey three years ago changed his life forever.

“I never came across anything like this before, it was an agonising experience to me and the entire crew as well as our families to say the least. We went through extreme hardship, torture and abuse. It was a hopeless situation,” said Captain Jawaid of MV Albedo that was hijacked by Somali pirates on its way to Mogadishu from Dubai in November 2010.

The 62-year-old father of two had set sail on his ship MV Albedo from Jebel Ali port in November 2010. The ship, along with the 22-man crew, was attacked and hijacked one week into the voyage 900 nautical miles off Mogadishu.

Captain Jawaid and six of his fellow Pakistani crew members were released in August 2012 following an 18-month ordeal, when his family with the help of philanthropists and activists raised more than $1 million (Dh3.67 million) in ransom.

Sadly, the remaining crew members of various nationalities are still being held captive by the pirates as nobody has come forward to support them, while the ship itself has sunk.

“Our campaign was to secure the release of all crew members. The deal was to pay a ransom of $2.85 million (Dh10.4 million), half of which we raised through the help of philanthropists, charity organisations and activists. We are really thankful to the Citizens Police Liaison Committee of Pakistan which took the lead in helping us. The other half of the ransom was the responsibility of the ship owner, who backtracked. We waited for two months after collecting our agreed amount so that the owner makes his arrangement but unfortunately nothing happened and we could only secure the release of my father and six Pakistani crew members,” said Nareman Jawaid, the older daughter of the captain, who played an active role in securing her father’s release.

The family is currently in Dubai, invited by the Government of Dubai to take part in the Counter Piracy conference, and help create greater awareness about the plight of seafarers.


Original Article