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Meet the Bangladeshi abra captain who ferried Sheikh Mohammed

Meet the Bangladeshi abra captain who ferried Sheikh Mohammed

Dubai - The Dubai Ruler and his team took a ride on abra no. 60 across the creek.


Angel Tesorero

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019, 7:43 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Sep 2019, 9:38 AM

It was another day at work for Bangladeshi expat Mohammad Allam, a day after he ferried His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, from Dubai Old Souq to the Gold Souq in Deira.
"I woke up at 5am to be at my station before 6am and then I started ferrying people across the Creek," the lucky 40-year-old abra captain, who is originally from Cox Bazar District of Chittagong, in southeastern Bangladesh, told Khaleej Times through an interpreter.
"But yesterday (Monday) was no ordinary day," he underlined. "I felt so lucky - there were many of us, abra captains - but Sheikh Mohammed and around a dozen of his companions chose my boat, which is number 60, to cross Deira Creek," Allam shared.
A video of Sheikh Mohammed's trip has gone viral on social media and was also featured on the Khaleej Times website (watch the video here). Allam felt he became an instant superstar among his peers. Reporters interviewed him and people also asked who was the abra captain who ferried the Dubai Ruler.

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Allam added: "I felt very honoured to steer the boat for Sheikh Mohammed. He shook my hand firmly and asked me how I was and all I was able to say was 'salaam alaikum'.

The veteran abra captain of 13 years, however, showed composure as he was ferrying Sheikh Mohammed and company. "My hands were steady and I docked the boat very carefully. The whole trip from Old Souq to Gold Souq took around five minutes but I felt it was the proudest and happiest five minutes of my life - I was ferrying one of the greatest leaders in the world," Allam expressed happily.

Allam, who lives in Al Ras along Dubai Creek and earns over Dh1,000 a month in commission, has a wife and two kids, aged 10 and four, back home in Bangladesh. "I haven't called my wife and kids yet but I will definitely have a very nice story to tell them. Some people have actually been taking pictures with me and others asked: "Where is the boat number 60," he said.

Allam's friends also felt very proud of their 'famous' colleague. Ashiskanti Paul and Al Mammun Jaaheir, both from Bangladesh, said Allam is a very hardworking man. "Our work is very hard especially during summer but when we get recognition, we feel very happy and with Sheikh Mohammed coming to the Creek, we feel that we are really doing good," the duo added.

It was, however, not the first time that a Dubai royal has recognised abra captains. In April last year, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, also took the abra and broadcast it live on social media to his more than 6 million followers on Instagram. He even called Pakistani expat Mubashar Zahoor Ellahi the "best captain".

Mubashar, for his part, told Khaleej Times: "It was such a big honour when Sheikh Hamdan came to me and patted my back. It was a reassurance and a reward that, as an expat, I'm doing a good job."


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