A daughter’s plea- Release MV Albedo and its crew
October 11, 2011 § 11 Comments
A father is someone who
holds your hand at the fair,
makes sure you do what your mother says,
holds back your hair when you are sick,
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy,
let’s you eat ice cream for breakfast
but only when mother is away,
he walks you down the aisle
and tells you everything’s gonna be ok.
( Pic: Mishal and her father)
It was a quiet evening when I was sipping my evening tea when the phone rang. For some reason I was hesitant to answer the phone since I had a strange feeling that something was wrong. I heard my sister’s voice on the other side trying to sound normal and calm. The first question I asked her was if my father was alright. You can call it instinct but I knew that he was not doing well. She then told me that he had suffered a heart attack and had been taken in for surgery. After I spoke to her for a few minutes I couldn’t feel my heart beating. I was completely numb and then I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach and I could feel my lungs running out of oxygen. I knew that he was going to be fine but the very thought of losing a father can shatter even the strongest of heart. This was the same feeling I experienced when my friend Mishal Jawaid called and told me that her father’s ship MV Albedo had been hijacked by the pirates. What I went through is insignificant when compared to the ordeal the Jawaid family is experiencing.
(pic: Mishal and her father)
Mishal and I are classmates and most importantly friends.We have known each other for a few months and many found it surprising that Mishal being a Pakistani is good friends with me ( Indian). Its the differences that brought closer.We argued about cricket but had the similar opinion on politics and human rights. Today it hurts me to know that she and her family are going through this agony and every time I talk to her I have numerous thoughts running through my mind. Is she eating? Sleeping? I spoke to her yesterday and as a friend I tried to be strong for her but deep down inside I knew that she might be experiencing the same fear of loss I once felt. Why is the International community not taking action? Why is the media so reluctant to cover these incidents?
This incident happened on November 26th 2010 and only now that after the efforts of the families of abductees this news is aired on television and written about. The families have experienced painful uncertainty as the ransom asked for the release is impossible to collect. As each day passes the pirates are growing stronger, bolder and more demanding and nothing is being done by the Government to stop such atrocious crimes.
According to the International Maritime Bureau the pirates have killed 15 captives. Even today (11.10.2011) an Italian ship was hijacked – MV Montecrisdo with 23 crew members, including 10 Indians, on-board. The daunting question about why the International Community is not responding to this is extremely worrying. The only long-term solution to Somali piracy is ‘political Securitization ’.
On June 14, 2011 the Somalia Pirates released the captives of MV Suez. The release was not because the government intervened but it was because of one man Dr. Ansar Burney, a Pakistani Human Rights Activist. The release came after total ransom amount of $2.1 million was settled. The sailors said that Dr. Ansar Burney was their ‘God and Samaritan’. How long are we going to depend on activists when it is the duty of the Government to safe guard its citizens?
The Jawaid family is depending on relatives, friends and even strangers to help them be heard. We all know that change is not instant and it takes time, but helping the Jawaid family to be heard is definitely a step in the right direction. There are children waking up every morning yearning to talk to their father, wives who spend endless night pondering about what is happening to their husbands, fathers and mothers praying for their sons return. Are we going to be a bystander or are we going to do something about this?
Kindly flow the link below to donate to the release of MV Albedo. You can contact Mishal Jawaid on ‘Save MV Albedo, Save my father’s life (Capt. Jawaid)’ – FB page
https://www.facebook.com/notes/save-mv-albedo-save-my-fathers-life-capt-jawaid/the-10-month-ordeal-account-details-for-those-willing-to-end-the-misery-of-the-s/227649040624707 – copy paste the link for more information and articles.
The page has a detailed report of the incident and the donation procedure. Kindly be generous and help bring back so many loved ones and also create awareness on the need to bring piracy to end. Feel free to post the link of the blog on other social networking sites. It has taken this incident for me to realize the harsh reality of piracy and I believe that it is my responsibility to share this information with others. Your support is deeply appreciated.
I end this article with the hope and faith that Captain Jawaid Saleem and his team will return to their families.
Background info mentioned by Nareman Jawaid ( Daughter of Captain Jawaid Saleem Khan – MV Albedo):
My father is Captain Jawaid Saleem is Captain on MV Albedo. He is 63 years old and has spent 40 years of his life at sea. A man who had always been big built and muscular suddenly had started to show the signs of old age. He looked weak and tired with 4 decades of service on the high seas. As I bid him farewell before he set a sail on MV Albedo I noticed his wrinkly skin.. I felt sad. I told him he should retire now and he promised me that MV albedo would be his last voyage before his retirement and he will come home and spend his retirement age with his family. He smiled maybe with the thought of a life close to home, not having to live apart from his family. I knew he always regretted missing on seeing his kids grow up. Every time he would return home from a voyage, he found his daughters on a different stage of life. We hugged and said Goodbye but what happened next could never have been anticipated by us.
On 26th November 2010, my father ship ‘mv albedo’ was hijacked on the high seas of Somalia. The 23 crew members of various nationalities (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian, Sri lankan and Indian ) were taken hostage for ransom. You cant even begin to describe the horrors we have gone through for the past 10 and a half months.
At first when we got the news that my fathers ship had been hijacked there was silence for the first 15 days. For these 15 days we dint know if my father and his crew was alive, we dint know where they were being taken. We dint know which part of the sea they were in… we did know that no one could reach there and if something was to happen we will never know what happened. To live in the anticipation of news that could either completely destroy you or bring you back to life, has been by far the worse experience of my life. The level of anxiety is so profound that it transcends every form of physical pain. Finally after 15 days, we got the news that the ship has reached Somalia and the owner of the ship has received a call from the pirates with a 10 million dollar ransom demand. This finally brought us news that my father and the crew were alive. Obviously the owner refused to pay. Who would pay 10 million dollars for a ship worth nothing now?
As a negotiation tactic, the pirates cut off communication with the owner. For the next 3 months we made desperate attempts to find out the condition of the crew, if they were being fed , the treatment they were being subjected to. The numerous biographies of pirate hostages, the degrading and tormenting treatment depicted in these interviews and on top of that my vivid imagination left me nowhere. I thought my brain and heart , both, might burst. I stopped reading these articles and just decided to resort to pray to Allah for my father’s safe return. It’s one thing to see your flesh and blood suffer and be there for them, just far worse to know all the torturous things that are happening them and not even be able to be there for them.
When the pirates knew their threats and calls to the owner of the ship were failing, their next tool was emotional black mail. The placed their first call to my mother in Karachi. My mother lived in Karachi alone in the absence of my kidnapped father. My father had been further kidnapped from the ship and taken to a jungle where he was put on gun point while these pirates gave threat calls to my mother saying if the ransom won’t be paid up, they will shoot him. Obviously my mother became hysterical with no family member around at that moment to give her comfort. She told the pirates she will seek help , she will beg , do whatever, but ‘please don’t kill my husband’. Along this entire ordeal, constant efforts were being made by my mother on every level to obtain any possible help, be it from the government, NGOs , friends, family. She left no stone unturned but nothing came out of it.
A week later the pirates called my mother and informed her that they had shot my father. It was the end of the world for her. She then decided that she will not believe this news(except the ship owner) until it was verified by a 3rd source. She continued to pray to Allah that this was a lie. Once again for the next 3 months, there was no call, no communication, no stray of hope that those on this ship were alive.
At the end of the 3rd month, my mother received a call from the ship owner. News was that the crew were alive and if an offer was not made soon this time , they really would kill someone.
Upon my mothers desperate pursual, a kind man named Ahmed Chinoy (Head of Pakistan Citizens-Police Liaison Committee) decided to help us with the negotiation process. We begged the pirates to not harm anyone and negotiate with us on a reasonable basis and a solution that was acceptable and realistic for both parties. It has been four months since these talks have been ongoing. After 10 and a half months of guarding the ship , the pirates are now desperate to see their millions. We have been given a deadline to raise the ransom otherwise they will start shooting crew members.
The most recent information was received from reliable sources was this that the ship crew are in feeble physical state, due to lack of clean drinking water , extreme shortage of food and physical torment . They need to be rescued and cannot continue to survive in these living conditions. We have tried every possible way in the past 10 and a half months but the company has refused to pay ransom and no intervention has come from government authorities as far as ransom collection is concerned. As our last resort we are raising ransom through donations to release our loved ones.
Every day is a struggle without them and every second a prayer for their return. May you never experience what we are going through and God continue to keep your loved ones safe in front of your eyes.The pirates ransom demands are high and our means scarce. We are now convinced that if ransom is not raised the repercussions will be beyond our repair.As per the most recent news on the condition of the ship crew, the physical state of the crew is deteriorated drastically. There has been extreme shortage of water and food and some of the crew members are critically sick. No Medical care is given to the sick crew .
Chief Officer Mujtaba ( who is also on MV Albedo) has three daughters, ages being 7 , 6 and 4 years). They recently had a baby brother who is now 6 months old. Mujtaba is not even are that he has a son since he has not spoken to his family in the past 10 months. There are 22 other crew members on this ship who have children and wives at home longing for their return. There are young 20 year old cadets on the ship who’s parents are desperately hoping every minute to see their return. Little is worse than bringing up a child for 20 year and finding out his life is in the hands and whims of the most dangerous criminals of the world.
We need your help for the sake of humanity. We need funds and donations to offer the pirates some amount for release of the crew. Please help us. We need you. Below are the account details set up in the name of captain and chief officers wife who are campaigning in Pakistani through all available media sources for ransom collection. The governor himself has stepped forward and urged people to donate for this cause. Please , we need you.
Account Name: Shahnaz Jawaid & Neelam Mujtaba
Account no PKR: 10052-10653622
Account no for donation in DOLLARS ($ US ): 10052-10653789
Account no for donation in POUNDS (GBP ) :10052-10653808
Swift Code: NIBPPKKA
Branch Name: NIB BANK LTD. UNIVERSITY ROAD BRANCH- KARACHI. PAKISTAN
Nareman Jawaid ( Daughter of Captain Jawaid Saleem Khan – MV Albedo)
Karachi – Pakistan