"It was a nightmare," said Hari C Nair, one of the 17 Indian sailors released by Somalian pirates after spending 11 months in captivity, recalled on Wednesday.
The third engineer of Italian oil tanker Savina Caylyn, Hari was among 22 seamen who had been held hostage by Somali pirates since February 8 last year.
"This is a second birth for me, I never thought I would come alive," he said.
Besides Hari, Bijesh of Koilandy and Fazil Sheikh of Kanjanhad returned to their families yesterday after arriving in Mumbai in the wee hours.
The crew was released along with the vessel on December 21. It was not known whether a ransom was paid for their release. Savina Caylyn, owned by Italian shipping company Fratelli D'Amato, was hijacked 500 miles off the coast of India while on a voyage from Sudan to Malaysia in February last year.
There were 22 seamen, including 17 Indians and five Italians, on board when the vessel was taken hostage and all of them have been released.
"The first three months were alright as we had our own food, but during the last five months life became miserable as we were given only small amounts of food and lodged in a room that would become sweltering hot," Hari said.
"The abductors gave us one bun for breakfast, at noon rice-porridge and a ladle of plain rice for dinner," he recalled.
The Savina Caylyn was first escorted to the mother ship of the pirates and from there sailed for three days to the Somalian coast, where they anchored along with nine other ships for the past 11 months.
The tanker carrying crude oil was on a voyage from Sudan to Malaysia.