“My Planning Was to Kill” the Pirate, Says Hero Seaman

When pirates invaded his ship off the coast of Somalia, ATM Reza of West Hartford went into action.  

We all know the gist of what happened on the ocean, but now the high-seas heroes of the Maersk Alabama are back in the United States. They arrived around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Reza is one of 19 American sailors who made it to safety after Capt. Richard Phillips told his crew to lock themselves in a cabin while he surrendered himself to safeguard the men.

Reza Thursday described a nightmarish incident in which he and shipmates lured a pirate named Abdul to a darkened engine room. During a noisy struggle, Reza grabbed an ice pick and stabbed the hostage-taker in the hand.

“My planning was to kill him and save my life. But I am lucky,” Reza said.

Reza says he tied the pirate's hands and legs.

Before leaving his Maplewood Avenue home almost two months ago, the 41-year-old Merchant Marine, husband and father, told friends and family he knew there was a risk of pirates but thought the problem was over-hyped.

"I talked to him before he left this last time and he said "Ugh" it'll be nothing. … But when he was on the ship, he felt clear there was a significant danger and they had to be very careful. They all knew what to do in case of a pirate attack," his wife, Elizabeth Pond-Reza, said.

Pond-Reza spoke with her husband over the weekend and said he and the rest of the crew were relieved and overjoyed by news Captain Phillips' safe rescue Sunday.

Now, there's a bigger relief. Reza is on his way home.

Reza, who's from Bangladesh, began working as a Merchant Marine in 1989. Over the years, he's logged about 15 years on the high seas.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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