The United Nations envoy for Somalia has welcomed the release the eleven remaining of crewmembers of a ship hijacked by Somali pirates nearly four years ago, and has called for the release of all remaining captives still being held by Somali pirates.
In a press release from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) on Saturday, Nicholas Kay welcomed the release of the hostages from the MV Albedo, who have been held captive by armed pirates since the Malaysian-owned ship was hijacked in November 2010.
According to UNSOM, the 11 survivors of the MV Albedo crew – from India, Iran, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – were released to officials from the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) inside Somalia and are now safely back in Kenya, soon to be repatriated to their home countries.
Details of their release have not been disclosed.
The MV Albedo had been held by armed Somali pirates since November 2010 when it was hijacked about 900 miles from the Somali coast as it sailed from the United Arab Emirates to kenya. The ship sank at an anchorage close to the Somali coast in July 2013 due to mechanical failure and bad weather and the surviving crew had been held on shore by pirates since then.
Of the 23 original crewmembers, seven were released in 2012 while four others drowned when the ship sank. Another hostage is believed to have been killed at some point by the captors.
“For over three years the crew members and their families have suffered unimaginable distress. The crew underwent the trauma of piracy, their ship sinking and then being held ashore in very difficult conditions, said Kay, who heads UNSOM.
He commended the efforts of UNODC colleagues and the local authorities, who facilitated their safe return today.
“While we have seen a significant reduction in piracy off the coast of Somalia in recent years, I remain deeply concerned that 38 other crew members are still being held hostage by Somali pirates,” Kay added. “I call on those who continue to detain these crew members to release them without further delay so they can rejoin their families and loved ones.”
In the interview below released earlier this year by The Seamen’s Church Institute, the captain of the MV Albedo, Captain Jawaid Khan, discusses the hijacking and the horrendous conditions he and his crew were subjected to in the hands of Somali pirates.