Seafarers working on international ships face threats of maritime piracy and heightened security risks.
They and their families suffer anxiety and losses when the seafarers are injured, held in captivity or worst, killed.
In September 2010, George Joseph and his 14 Indian crewmates were taken captive while working aboard their cargo ship off the Tanzanian coast.
Recounting the experience to CGTN, George said: “They tightened our hands from the back and leg with rope. It was very hot, around afternoon time. Then they started beating us and told us to cry. They wanted to send (our crying video) to our company asking for ransom.”
Their torturers knew that piracy pays. In 2010 alone, almost 240 million US dollars were handed over to Somali pirates as ransom.
In the last decade, pirates have kidnapped nearly 6,000 seafarers.
Most of their victims are Asians, mainly from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and India.
George’s suffering also brought pain to his wife and two children back home in Kerala. Upon hearing about the kidnapping, George’s wife was devastated. She said: “It was shocking news to our family. Even now, (when I think about it) my body also shivers. That memory was really horrible. So many questions were in front of me. I was really scared and shocked. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t say anything.