Efforts on to rescue sailors through third party: Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday said it could not be possible to make contact with the Somalian pirates to rescue 23 sailors along with the Bangladesh owned ship MV Abdullah which was hijacked in the Indian Ocean.

“We’re trying to rescue the sailors safely through a third party and the government has already communicated with relevant international bodies,” he told journalists after attending at a seminar titled “Empowering Future: Invest in Women towards Smart Bangladesh” at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban Auditorium of Dhaka University on Wednesday , March 13.

Hasan Mahmud said the government has already informed the Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, the Indian Fusion Center in New Delhi, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the Singapore office under the Regional Cooperation Agreement against Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia about the matter.

Besides, the situation of the Bangladesh ship has also been reported to the ships of the UK, the USA, India and China operating in that area, he said.

The Foreign Minister said the incident is very sad and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is very concerned about this and the issue has been informally discussed in the cabinet meeting.

Replying to another question, the Foreign Minister said that no ‘formal’ communication has been established with the pirates, communication is being done through other parties.

Asked how the sailors would be freed from the hands of pirates and whether the pirates would be paid ransom, the foreign minister said the government’s objective is to recover the ship and rescue the sailors. “But, it is not a matter to explain in public what would be our strategies. Intelligence agencies are working on it, he added.

Earlier, a ship of the same company was taken over by pirates. The ship and crew were rescued three months later.

Organsied by Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Centre for Gender and Development Studies, the seminar was attended by the Foreign Minister as the chief guest.

Besides, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, Social Science Faculty Dean Professor Dr Zia Rahman, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Sayeeda Muna Tasnim, Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership President Nasim Ferdous, Director General of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies Dr Binayak Sen and Director of the Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Centre for Gender and Development Studies Professor Tania Huque also spoke at the seminar.


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