MT MAXIMUS was attacked off Ivory Coast on 11th February. The ship name and IMO number were changed but the Nigerian Navy followed the vessel and during a fight to recapture the ship one of the pirates was killed and six were arrested.
Although about 350 miles offshore, the remaining pirates and two hostages sped away in a small boat. After 17-18 hours of sailing, the fuel ran out and they drifted for five days without food or water. As soon as they realized that they were approaching land, both the hostages were asked to paddle the boat towards land, where the pirates then fled with them into dense bush.
There was another twist in their ordeal when the pirates and crew were overpowered by a local gang. The crew were held by their new captors in a small room in the house of the gang chief and his family. They received a little food and dirty water. They were on many occasions physically tortured, mentally abused and psychologically pressurised during this period of captivity.
He related that the gang chief and his family, including the women, used to make sarcastic remarks and make fun of them when they were tortured. In spite of this treatment they kept their spirits high and their belief that they would go home safely. They prayed, and were confident that the company would be doing all they could to end their inhumane trauma. At present the Indian survivor is visiting temples and offering his prayers to God for all His kindness and blessings on him and on his family that he is come out of the hard ordeal. He is feeling much better and is recovering well.
After negotiations with the local gang, both were released and bought back home safely and reunited with their families. They are thankful to their company, the Indian Government, External Affairs Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, the DG Shipping office and the Indian High Commission in Nigeria for their good support throughout. The family also thanked ISWAN / MPHRP for their support to them during and after their ordeal.