Man captured by pirates is reunited with family

GUANGZHOU — A Taiwanese sailor released after being held captive by Somali pirates for nearly five years was reunited with his wife and daughter in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

Shen Jui-chang, the chief engineer of the Omani-flagged fishing vessel Naham 3 that was taken over by Somali pirates in March 2012, arrived in Guangzhou at 5 a.m. while his wife and daughter arrived in Hong Kong on Monday night before heading toward Guangzhou.

In a telephone hookup with Tsai Cheng-yuan, a former legislator who helped raise funds to pay for the ransom, Shen said he wept uncontrollably when he saw his wife for the first time after five years.

He said he felt he had let down his wife and daughter but felt that was the fate arranged by the heavens.

Shen said he had the chance to be released earlier and was tempted to take the opportunity with pirates pointing AK-47 rifles at them every day.

But given that he was already 58 years old and the other crew members were young, he felt that if he were to leave, there would have been nobody to keep up the morale of the young crew.

He also spoke of his ordeal during captivity, most of it on land in Somalia. He said their daily rations consisted of nothing more than a bowl of rice and 100 cc. of sugar water for dinner, and a spring roll skin for breakfast.

If the pirates were unhappy, they would not even get water to drink.

Ate Mice and Scorpions

During Captivity

Shen said it was common for the captives to eat mice, and the Vietnamese and Cambodian crew members held captive would even roast scorpions and centipedes.

Asked if he will board a fishing boat again, Shen said his wife probably wouldn’t allow him to do so, and “the odds are slim” after having worked on fishing boats for about 40 years.

“The trade is not bad. It’s just bad luck to run into pirates,” he said, adding many fishermen have been at sea for more than half a century without ever coming into contact with a pirate.

Asked what he would like to tell the government after his return to Taiwan, he said that he has already said all he could in the past.

“Now that I’ve returned. I don’t want to talk about the sad thing. It’s useless to say more,” Shen said in an interview.

A video released Monday showed Shen lashing out at Taiwan’s government and the Taiwanese company that owned the ship — Chien Chang Ocean Enterprise Co. for turning their back on the crew members who were taken hostage.

Chinese authorities have arranged for Shen and his family to tour Guangzhou in the afternoon. But Shen felt unwell during the excursion and returned to his hotel early to get some rest.

Returns to Taiwan Today

Shen and his family are scheduled to return to Taiwan from Guangzhou on Wednesday.

The family of the captain of the Naham 3, who was killed during the ship’s hijacking, will also be on hand to welcome Shen and his family.

The two sons of the captain, surnamed Chung, said they wanted to ask Shen about their father’s final moments and express appreciation to Shen for taking care of the aftermath.

The Naham 3 was hijacked in March 2012 roughly 65 nautical miles south of the Seychelles. The captain was killed during the hijacking and two of the original crew — one Chinese and one Indonesian — later fell ill and died during captivity.

The remaining 26 crew members spent much of their captivity on land in Somalia.

This Articel Was originally Published in the China Post

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