Seafarers Day 2014 – Inside story of MT Morning Glory
Every year 25 June is observed as the Day of the Seafarer, recognizing the invaluable contribution seafarers make to the world through sea trade and transport of vital cargoes often at great personal cost to themselves and their families. The Day of the Seafarer provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers and to educate the public about issues faced by them such as piracy, difficult working conditions and unexpected dangers.
National Centre for Maritime Policy Research (NCMPR), a constituent unit of Bahria University, organized a Maritime Discourse on Day of the Seafarer 2014. The crew and families of the recently hijacked ship MT MORNING GLORY shared their inside story of hijack and captivity by the rebels in Libya. Officials from Ports and Shipping Department, PNSC, PICT, PQA, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, maritime trainers, psychologists, experts from the maritime sector and representatives from seafarers’ community attended the event.
Captain Mirza Noman Baig ex-Master of MT MORNING GLORY narrated his ship’s experience of being duped to load oil cargo from Sidrah port in Libya and, then, capture by anti-government rebels. Ultimately the United States Navy successfully rescued the ship from the clutches of hijackers near Cyprus waters. The ship was brought to Tripoli and the crew was released by the Libyan government after agonizing wait of about 2 weeks. He emphasized that throughout this entire saga, he was only concerned about the safety of his crewmembers. The released crewmembers of MT MORNING GLORY include 6 Pakistanis, 6 Indians, 3 Sri Lankans, 2 Syrians, 2 Sudanese and 2 Eritreans. Later, some family members of the crew narrated their version of the story about their efforts to get their loved ones released from the rebellious tyrants. They were thankful to the civil society, media, the government and Pakistan Embassy in Libya for their timely help and support.
Director General NCMPR lauded the courage shown by the Master, Pakistani crew and their families. He also said that seafarers must be careful as their career can become a nightmare if they engage with unscrupulous agents and ship owners.