“Tortured by drunks”

Indian seafarers have been reliving their 10-month ordeal at the hands of sadistic Somali pirates.

The six men from the Egyptian-owned Suez made it to Karachi in Pakistan on Thursday.

They told the PTI news agency that they were tortured by a group of drunk pirates and starved for days.

The men had almost given up hope of seeing their families again when the vessel was released earlier this month.

“We were beaten when they were drunk and they would use anything they could get their hands on to beat us. We were sure they would kill us. There were moments when I wished they would just kill us so that we escape the torture,” said NK Sharma.

Ravinder Singh added: “I feel so happy. I have waited for 10 months for this moment. I didn’t think I would see this day…I thought we all would be killed.”

Food was scarce on the vessel. “Some days we just got water. We used to get boiled rice, spaghetti and potato once a week,” Sharma added.

But the release of the vessel was not the end of their harrowing tale as Suez ran short of fuel and faced the prospect of sinking.

“One way or the other, we were sure our end was near,” Sharma said.

Another crewman, Prashant Chauhan, said: “Even during our travel to Karachi, I didn’t think we were actually going back to our families. The thing we thought would never happen was happening now.

“When I de-boarded my flight I realised this was real. Our nightmare was truly over.”

Regarding efforts to free them, Singh said: “Indian and Pakistani media helped us a lot. As far as the Indian government’s role in the release, I don’t want to comment on it.”

The vessel eventually sank off Oman, but the men were picked up by a Pakistani warship.


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