Iran Denies Seizing Korean Ship and Holding Crew Hostage
By Sangmi Cha and Josh Smith SEOUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Iran denied on Tuesday it was using a South Korean ship and its crew as hostages, a day after...
It’s been two unspeakably long years for whomever is left of the crew of the M/V Iceberg 1 since being hijacked by Somali pirates off the Yemeni coast. The Panamanian-flagged roll-on/roll-off ship was taken on March 29, 2010 and, at this point, is the longest-held vessel in captivity.
Left to Rot
At the time of the hijacking, the Iceberg 1 had a multinational crew of 24 – made up of 8 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 Ghanaians, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino – but dwindled to 23 in October 2010 after one crewmember committed suicide by jumping overboard.
Meanwhile, the remaining crew have been subjected to barbaric living conditions with little food or clean drinking water and no help from the shipowner, Azal Shipping and Cargo, who has since gone out of business.
On December 17th the Captain of the vessel, Abdirazzak Ali Saleh, told Agence France-Presse, “The water we have is unclean and we have only one meal a day, boiled rice, that’s it. The crew is suffering physically and mentally,” in a phone interview obtained by Somalia Report. He added that they had been locked up in a lower hold approximately five meters square for close to nine months. At least three crewmembers have been reported to be suffering from severe psychological issues.
In October of 2011 the Iceberg 1, along with her crew, were rumored to have been released however that story was later retracted. Also that month, it was reported that the 6 Indian nationals were released following the payment of ransom by their families.
Now, as we pass the two year mark, the fate of the Iceberg 1 and her remaining crew is still uncertain. Will, by some miracle, ransom be paid for their release? Or will some military step in and fight for their release? For now, we just don’t know.
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