Saturday, June 7, 2014

Worst-Case Seizure of Iranian Ship: Pakistanis Ransomed, Other Nationalities Held for Nearly 4 Years

According to The Independent, eleven sailors who were taken hostage by Somali pirates and held for more than three years and seven months have escaped.
A senior Somalian anti-piracy official reported that the sailors, were able to escape in the early hours of Friday morning (June 6).

COMMENT: According to the anti-piracy official, the eleven sailors managed to get to safety after squeezing through a small window aboard their ship and running away to a nearby village.

Most of the men did not have shoes or clothes and the majority were still traumatized by the torture they had endured during their captivity.

Omar Sheikh Ali Osoble, counter-piracy focal point for the Galmudug regional administration told THE INDEPENDENT: All of them are so happy to be free."

Other horrendous stories to come out of the sailors' time in captivity include having the skin on their hands torn away with pliers, being starved for three days at a time and being threatened with execution.

The sailors' ordeal began in November 2010, when the Iranian cargo ship, "MV Albedo," was boarded some  900 nautical miles east of Mogadishu.

During the take-over, one crew member was killed, while the others were taken to a safe house set up by their Somalian captors.

The pirates then demanded a ransom of £8 million (US$13,445,900), but the Iranian company that owned the "MV Albedo," was uninsured, and therefore could not pay the ransom demand.

Last year, a Pakistani businessman was able to raise US$1.2 million dollars to ensure the release of the Pakistani captives, but other members of the crew, that included Iranian, Bangladeshi, Indian and Sri Lankan nationals remained in captivity, until their miraculous escape on Friday (J