Tale of a Hope survivor

It was a harrowing experience for the survivors of Bangladeshi cargo ship MV Hope, which capsized off Phuket, and they are unable to come to terms even several hours after their rescue.

Some of the crew had scurried to safety on lifeboats but others just jumped off it– fearing the ship might pin them down to the floor of the ocean– and then kept floating on life jackets till they were pulled out of the sea.

One such survivor narrated his ordeal to The Phuket News. According to the paper, shock and fear were palpable when 50-year old survivor Abu Bakar Siddique was recalling the incident. He reportedly clutched the hands of the reporter to his chest while describing to him his last minutes at the Hope.

Shocked and disoriented with cuts to his head, hand and left arm, Siddique was thanking God for his miraculous escape and his thoughts were with his daughter back home in Bangladesh.

A deck-hand on the Hope, Siddique told the newspaper he had joined the ship only three months back. “Normally the ship would have had a complement of 32 officers and crew. But on this voyage there were only 17 on board.”

ফুকেটে হাসপাতালে চিকিৎসাধীন বাংলাদেশি নাবিক আবু বকর সিদ্দিক। ছবি: ফুকেট নিউজ

ফুকেটে হাসপাতালে চিকিৎসাধীন বাংলাদেশি নাবিক আবু বকর সিদ্দিক। ছবি: ফুকেট নিউজ

Laden with 6,545 metric tonnes of ball clay, MV Hope tilted to one of its side on Thursday amidst hostile weather. Eleven of its crew members were still missing.

Royal Thai Navy was conducting rescue operations at the site, about 29 nautical miles (54 kilometres) south of Racha Yai Island.

MV Hope’s Fourth Engineer Md Abdul Hakim, Deck Cadets Mokhlesur Rahman, Siddique, Md Rubel, Md Osman and Saiful Islam were rescued from the sea.

Siddique was receiving treatment at Vachira Phuket Hospital.

“Some of the crew managed to climb into a lifeboat, others simply jumped off her (ship) sides,” Siddique was telling ‘The Phuket News’.

Hope was labouring across fierce seas and heavy winds when the deck cargo shifted, he sobbed. The ship heeled over. “Some of the cargo went overboard.”

“I was afloat on a life jacket. Don’t know for how long. It seemed like eternity.”

He seemed deeply worried about his missing shipmates. “Don’t know what happened to them. May God keep them well.”

During his interview, Siddique received a call from his son in Singapore. He was sobbing into the telephone while describing his ordeal.

The other five rescued were transferred to container German ship Buxmoon which will take them to Bangladesh. Siddique was longing to join them.

According to the vessel’s owners, the missing crew members were the ship’s Captain Rajib Chandra Karmakar, Chief Officer Md Mahbub Morshed, Second Officer Mobarak Hossain, Deck Cadet ‘Faizur’, Chief Engineer Kazi Saifuddin, Second Engineer Md Nejam Uddin, Engine Cadet Mushfiqur Rahman, Electricians Chhadim Ali, KB Nasir Uddin and Ali Hossain and Chief Cook Nasir Uddin.

MV Hope’s registering authority, Mercantile Marine Department Principal Officer Shafiqul Islam said the ship belonged to Trade Bridge Shipping Ltd owned by Sama Quader Chowdhury.

She is the wife of Jamal Uddin Quader Chowdhury the brother of BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

কাত হয়ে সাগরে ডুবতে থাকা এমভি হোপ। ছবি: থাই রয়্যাল নেভি

কাত হয়ে সাগরে ডুবতে থাকা এমভি হোপ। ছবি: থাই রয়্যাল নেভি

The ship’s certificate showed its load-carrying capacity was 5,550 metric tonnes. But according to the information provided to Chittagong Port Authority by the owners, it showed the ship was carrying nearly 1,000 metric tonnes more than its capacity.

Shafiqul Islam said the ship was supposed to return to Chittagong port on July 8.

Hope broadcast an SOS at 3:57am on Thursday which was picked up by the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC).

A Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet helicopter was scrambled soon after that and flew out to check the spot of capsize.

Source: Bd news24

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