BUCHAREST, Romania – Hartin Sarchizian and his only child Ruxandra had not seen each other in two years — but their joy at being reunited on a ship where they both were working was short-lived.
Just one month after their reunion, Sarchizian and his 31-year-old daughter were among those taken hostage Tuesday by Somali pirates.
The U.S. Navy says the MV Victoria, a German cargo ship with 11 Romanian crew, was captured in the Gulf of Aden. The Kru Martime recruiting company has identified the 11 sailors. Eight are from the Black Sea port of Constanta, including the Sarchizians.
At home in Constanta, Elena Sarchizian is anguished by the plight of her husband and daughter, thousands of miles from home.
"They called me from the shipping company ... and told me to sit down. I knew it was bad news," the 56-year-old told the Associated Press on Thursday.
"I have high blood pressure and have been on tablets ever since," she added. "All I want is some news. This stress is eating me up. It's very black."
In his 30 years at sea, the worst ordeal her husband, the ship's chief mechanic, had faced previously was a bad storm. The couple's only child followed in her father's footsteps, graduating from the Maritime University in Constanta six years ago.
Due to different sea voyages, the father and daughter, now a naval officer, had not seen each other for two years.
The last time Sarchizian spoke to her 63-year-old husband and her daughter was on April 30 when they were sailing from India. They were supposed to speak again when the ship docked in Saudi Arabia, but they never made it there.
Armenian priest Sorin Mandalian, who also spoke to Ruxandra on April 30, called her a "bright and energetic girl." The Armenian community, to which the Sarchizians belong, is praying for their safe return.
Sarchizian appealed to the pirates.
"Please don't harm them. They didn't go to sea just to have something to do," she said. "They went to make a living, to earn money. I just want them home."