PORT KLANG, June 26 —The crew of Orkim Harmony had no warning of the pirate attack and could not respond as they had already boarded.
“By the time we knew what was going on, eight of them had boarded the vessel and tied us up at gunpoint.”
Captain Nor Fazly Sahat briefly related his experience of being hijacked and held hostage at the annual Malaysian Seafarer’s Day breaking fast event.
“They over-ran the bridge in minutes and the crew was herded into the ship’s galley. I pleaded with the pirates not to harm my boys.”
“It was critical in the first couple days. The pirates were agitated and had shot the ship’s cook. It was just out of panic,” he said.
He didn’t believe the pirates were murderers, and were only interested in the cargo. He said the crew lost all their personal belongings as well.
“I did what I had to do. I am responsible for the lives and safety of my crew,” he said, adding that standard procedure was to cooperate when boarded.
Nor Fazly thanked all those involved in the search and rescue, especially the company, navy and the maritime enforcement agency.
“They didn’t give up looking for us and there is no way I can describe my gratitude for all that’s been done. My crew and I are very thankful to all those who ensured our safe return home.”
He visibly fought back tears throughout the press conference which was abruptly ended by an unnamed spokesman.
Also present was the ship’s second engineer but the spokesman prevented him from describing what caused the engine problems on the way to Kuantan after the ship had been recovered.
Datuk Baharin bin Abdul Hamid, Director General of the Malaysian Marine Department, officiated the event and presented gifts to recognise Malaysian seafarers for their contributions.
He downplayed the threat of piracy in Malaysian waters saying that attacks were few in comparison to the number of ships sailing.
“They are just going after targets of opportunity. This is not a daily occurrence,” he said, adding that there were additional efforts underway to provide better security for the east coast.