For the past five years the seas have seemingly been quiet, sailors grew comfortable and security slackened, until a surge of hijackings by Somali raiders reminded people of a fear the families of former hostages had never been able to forget.
By Ramola Talwar Badam
Four months after his ship was freed from pirates, a Sri Lankan sailor plans to return to sea next month.
Now, Sunil Bulathsinhala just wants to forget the four days of terror he endured beginning March 13, when gun wielding Somali pirates held eight sailors hostage aboard the Aris 13, a UAE-managed tanker, marking the first successful hijacking after a five-year lull.
“I try to forget how many guns they had, how they held a gun to my head and made me talk to my family to ask for money. They had AK47s, T56, T81 (assault rifles), small rocket-propelled grenades and 9mm pistols,” said Mr Bulathsinhala from his Colombo home.
“I thought I would die. I tried to forget this. My mind is okay now. I am tough. I cannot be scared when I go back to work.”
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