Pirates Permit Abdullah Crew to Call Home but Move Ship Toward Shore

hijacked bulker
Attempts to contact the vessel went unanswered the Indian Navy reported (EUNAVFOR)

Published Mar 22, 2024 4:39 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Somali pirates holding the Bangladeshi vessel Abdullah apparently are fearing a possible rescue attempt by the international forces. Reports are that they repositioned the bulker closer to shore while reiterating that they are holding the crew aboard. To emphasize conditions they also permitted the crew to call home for the first time since the incident began more than a week ago.

The media in Bangladesh is quoting family members reporting that each crewmember was given a few minutes on the vessel’s satellite phone to call their families. The pirates have confiscated cell phones and electronic devices from the crew and it has been a week since there had been any direct contact.

The crew is reporting that they are in good condition but are now fearful that the ship will soon run out of drinking water and food. They told family members that the ship only had supplies aboard for the voyage that would have already reached the UAE. 

The 22 crewmembers said they were still aboard the Abdullah. They are reporting that tension and anxiety are running high with the captors brandishing AK-47 rifles onboard but said they have not been mistreated.

Contributing to the tensions was news that the Indian Navy successfully rescued the crew of the Bulgarian vessel Ruen last weekend. Reports are that a warship working with the EUNAVFOR Atalanta mission is watching the Abdullah from a distance after tracking the ship to Somalia. The Indian Navy reported it had followed the ship until it reached Somali waters.


EUNAVFOR released a video of the warship following the Abdullah with a helicopter monitoring the ship


With a warship on the horizon, the reports said the pirates had now moved all the crew into a single room. Previously they had been permitted to stay in their cabins. Additional pirates also boarded the ship, possibly relieving the first batch that seized the ship.

The reports are that the ship was repositioned just four miles from the Somali coast to discourage any attempts by the international forces. In addition, officials from the government in Bangladesh and SK Shipping told the Bangladeshi media that they did not approve an action with force and remain hopeful of a quick settlement.

They are not revealing any additional details after reports Wednesday that they had been contacted by a third-party representative of the pirates. At that point, however, the reports said no specific ransom demand was made.