Mumbai, Nov.24 : Mumbai today gave a warm and relieved welcome to five of the 18 Indian crew members of the MT Stolt Valor, a ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in September.
Estidore Fernandes and Alistair Fernandes of Goa, Navid Borundkar of Ratnagiri, and Santosh Patil and Om Prakash Shukla of Mumbai were said to be in good health.
The remaining 13 crewmen will start returning from Muscat on Tuesday onwards.
Describing their ordeal, Fernandes said they lived in cramped conditions at an unknown, desolate location on shore with 20-25 heavily armed pirates guarding them round-the-clock.
"All 22 of us were dumped in one room measuring about 30x40 feet. We were allowed out in pairs to use a bathroom outside," he told reporters at a press conference in Mumbai.
Patil said they were given food, but it was of poor quality and they ate it only to survive.
MT Stolt Valor, with 22 crewmembers including 18 Indians, was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates off the Yemen coast on Sep 15 while it was bound for Mumbai from the Suez Canal.
The pirates took the Japanese-owned vessel to the Somali coast and demanded a ransom of six million dollars. They released the ship on November 16 after reportedly collecting 2.5 million dollars from the ship's owners.
The cargo vessel was managed by Fleet Marine Management Service Ltd, Mumbai.