Mogadishu (HAN) June 9, 2014. In a press release from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Nicholas Kay welcomed the release of of 11 crew members of the ship MV Albedo, held hostage since November 2010.
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.
According to UNSOM, the 11 survivors of the MV Albedo crew were released to officials from the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 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 12 November 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 Mr. 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 Oceans region that are 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 Mr. 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.”
Meanwhile in West Africa: According to news reports, piracy in the Central and West African region “reached the peak last year with the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reporting attacks on nearly 1000 sailors, turning the region into a ‘hellhole.'” The types of crimes committed include “fuel bunkering, drug/human trafficking, illegal fishing, and hostage taking,” with pirates also making continental attacks targeting banks in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.
IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu lauded the piracy Code’s adoption and noted:”I am fully committed to assisting western and central African countries to establishing a workable, regional mechanism of co-operation for enhanced maritime security. Maritime development is an essential component of African development and maritime zone security is fundamentally important.
The Code of Conduct on piracy defines the regional anti-piracy strategy and is the precursor to a legally binding instrument.
Photo: The Mayor of Mogadishu and Governor of Benadir Regional Administration, Hassan Mohamed Hussein “Mungab” welcomes the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) Nicholas Kay at the headquarters of the Administration
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