Turkish crew captured by pirates return after 128 days

August 5, 2010 10:15 am 

ISTANBUL, Aug. 5 — The 19 Turks out of 21 crew-members of the Frigia, captured by Somalian pirates 1,000 nautical miles (1,852 km) off the coast of India in March, returned to Turkey on Wednesday, 128 days after their ordeal.

Family members had been waiting at Ataturk airport's foreign arrivals terminal for hours prior to the arrival of the crew.

Pirates had attacked the Frigia on March 23, when they had fired on the bridge, boarded the vessel and commandeered it back to Somalia.

Nesrin Savas, wife of the first captain Umit Savas, said that she had contacted her husband since his release and that "they experienced very bad days, I know that the pirates had begun torturing the personnel."

The first arrival in the terminal, the third captain Osman Kucuknalbant blamed the captain for their capture, "we were captured very easily due to the captains inexperience, 14 ships had passed only we were caught."

He explained that an emergency distress signal had been released, and while the whole crew knew it was a pirate signal, the captain hadn't turned around.

Savas said the crew was lucky to survive, since the pirates finished their five months supplies of food in 25 days and the crew was reduced to eating maggot-infested biscuits.

The pirates then continued beating him and torturing the crew, while also constantly increasing their ransom demands.

He added that the Turkish warship Gelibolu had been of great assistance to the crew after the pirates had abandoned the ship. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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