Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab
The published photo of the Somali pirates is at least 12 years old
This article is more than 1 month old

The published photo of the Somali pirates is at least 12 years old

Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab

The Daily Pratidiner Bangladesh published a report on March 13, attaching a photo, claiming that they are pirates of a Bangladeshi ship MV Abdullah held hostage off the coast of Somalia. However, upon verification, it was revealed that the photo is not related to the MV Abdullah incident but rather stems from a documentary that is at least 12 years old.

A Bangladeshi ship named MV Abdullah, carrying 23 sailors, was recently captured by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. On March 13, The Daily Pratidiner Bangladesh published a lead story on the front page of its print edition with the headline “Bangladeshi ship captured by pirates, 23 sailors taken hostage.” The incorrect photo was used in the newspaper’s lead news story. The photo shows three men standing on the deck of a ship with their faces covered in cloth and holding guns. 

The MV Abdullah, a Bangladeshi vessel carrying 23 sailors, fell victim to Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The Daily Pratidiner Bangladesh featured the story prominently on its front page, accompanied by the misleading image. The photograph portrayed three individuals on a ship deck, their faces obscured by cloth masks and brandishing firearms. 

The caption of the photo claims, “Three members of the pirate gang on the MV Abdullah ship, which was captured by pirates in the Indian Ocean. The ship was located near Somalia on Tuesday.” The photo credit was attributed as “Collected.”

The online version of the report was published on March 13 at 10:45 AM with the headline “Bangladeshi ship captured by pirates, 23 sailors taken hostage.” The latest update was on the same date at 7:52 PM. The incorrect photo that was published in the newspaper is not included in this latest version. Though the erroneous photo is not present it its latest update, it is still being used in their e-paper edition.

A reverse image search of the photo shows that it is not recent. The oldest reports containing the photo were found in 2013. The photo was used in multiple reports (1, 2) about the documentary “The Stolen Sea” on Somali pirates. Thymaya Payne directed this documentary film that was released in 2012.

In 2008, Somali pirates captured a Dutch merchant ship with 13 crew members. The documentary “The Stolen Sea” is based on their two-month captivity at the hands of the pirates. A one-minute and 45-second trailer for the documentary is available on YouTube. The three men in the photo can also be identified in the trailer, between 0.33 and 0.40 seconds. Their clothing, face coverings, and weapons are all identical.

In other words, the photo of the pirates is not recent and is at least 12 years old.