Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Hostage on “Sirius Star” Unharmed | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- A three minute telephone conversation took place Wednesday between Hussein al Hamza, the kidnapped Saudi crewman aboard the hijacked Sirius Star, and his family in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt.

The kidnapped crewman, who is currently on the hijacked Saudi Arabian oil tanker, which is anchored off the coast of Somalia, described the crew’s situation as “normal”.

Mousa al Hamza, the father of the kidnapped sailor, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the telephone call was completely unexpected. He explained that Hussein al Hamza spoke to his mother, as his father was seeing to visitors and relatives who were lending their support to the family during this difficult time.

Mousa al Hamza informed Asharq Al-Awsat that his son only described the crew’s situation as “normal” and said that “there is nothing to fear.”

He added that he considered this communication an indication that talks for the release of the tanker and the crew are progressing, and the family hopes for the safe return of Hussein as soon as possible.

Mousa al Hamza stated, “Despite the short length of the phone call, it reassured us of Hussein’s condition and confirmed that he has not been hurt. The family is going through a difficult time fearing Hussein’s safety.”

He added, “After Hussein’s phone call we were contacted by officials from Vela International [that owns the Sirius Star] as well as Saudi officials to reassure us of the situation.”

Hussein al Hamza further informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the phone call ended with Hussein saying ‘that’s enough, that’s enough,’” indicating that the kidnappers were demanding him to end the call. At that point the phone call finished.

Hussein al Hamza, 24, became a sailor despite his family’s reservations in this regard. Although Hussein secured a place at Riyadh’s King Saud University after completing his high school education, he joined the Dammam College of Technology. Two years later, he secured a job within the Saudi Shipping and Maritime Services company, after which he joined Vela International, which is a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.

Hussein al Hamza took up a number of courses in various fields including that of maritime studies. He attended the Naval College in Cairo and participated in Prince Muhammad Bin Fahd’s program for Youth Development.

The hijacked Saudi Arabian tanker was en route to the United States of America and had sailed from the port of Ras Tannurah on November 17.

Hussein al Hamza’s first voyage on an oil tanker was to Amsterdam, Netherlands, to upload a large shipment of oil amounting to two million barrels.

The crew of the Sirius Star comprises of 25 sailors, in addition to the only Saudi Arabian national Hussein al Hamza; there are two Britons, two Poles, one Croat, and nineteen Filipinos.