The United Nations envoy for Somalia has welcomed the release of sailors on a ship hijacked by Somali pirates nearly four years and has called for the release of all remaining captives still being held by Somali pirates.
In a statement from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Nicholas Kay welcomed the release today of 11 crew members of the ship MV Albedo, held hostage since November 2010.
According to UNSOM, the 11 survivors of the MV Albedo crew were released to officials from the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) inside Somalia and are now safely back in Kenya. The crew members from India, Iran, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be repatriated to their home countries over the coming days.
The MV Albedo had been held by armed Somali pirates since November 12, 2010. The ship sank 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 that time.
“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.
UNODC’s Counter Piracy Programme, now in its fourth year of operation, supports the criminal justice professionals of states in the Indian Ocean region dealing with Somali piracy. It has developed an extensive police and Coast Guard contingent, as well a division that deals with hostage release and repatriation.
“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,” said Kay: adding: “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.”