x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Freed Pakistani sailor to talk at Dubai piracy summit

Jawaid Khan, the captain of MV Albedo who was held hostage for 21 months by pirates, is to speak at a Dubai conference on the effects of piracy on seamen and their families.

DUBAI // Jawaid Khan, the ship's captain who was held hostage for 21 months by pirates, is to speak at a Dubai conference on the effects of piracy on seamen and their families.

Mr Khan, who was at the helm of the MV Albedo when it was taken in 2010, and his family will take part in discussions with top delegates at the counter-piracy event on September 11 and 12.

He and seven Pakistani sailors from the 23-man crew were released by Somali pirates in August last year after a Dh4 million ransom was raised by Pakistani businessmen, families and charity groups.

The pirates are still holding 15 sailors from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Iran for more ransom.

The released sailors told harrowing tales of an Indian crewmate who was killed to put pressure on the ship's Iranian owner, and beatings and starvation.

The Malaysian-flagged vessel was captured in November 2010 in the Gulf of Aden after leaving Jebel Ali for Kenya.

More than 500 delegates including officials, foreign ministers, executives of global maritime companies and experts will participate in next month's conference, Countering Maritime Piracy: Continued Efforts for Regional Capacity Building.

"We are convinced that successfully countering piracy can only be achieved if the international community enhances its efforts to build capacity in the region," said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

"While the international community has made great strides in fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, the UAE believes that maritime piracy, notably in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean, remains of serious global concern."

The conference has been organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DP World and Abu Dhabi Ports Company.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of ADPC, called for long-term strategy.

"The pirate groups still exist, the threat is still present and the devastating human consequences of pirate attack or armed robbery at sea still remains," Dr Al Jaber said.

"Counter-piracy remains a top priority for the emirate as maritime security is an important factor in the economic growth of the GCC region."

Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, said public and private-sector partnerships were crucial.

"We all continue to be affected by the ramifications of piracy and it is vital that we keep the issue on the radar so that public and private-sector remedies can be implemented now and for future generations," Mr bin Sulayem said.

rtalwar@thenational.ae