The crew of the MV Iceberg 1, captured by Somali pirates on March 29, 2010, are now being held captive for a record time of almost 30 months.
The Old Salt Blog reported early in October that
The Panamanian-flagged ro/ro MV Iceburg 1 was hijacked by pirates about 10 nautical miles off the port of Aden, Yemen. Her crew of 24, of which 22 are believed to have survived, have been held hostage for 29 months. The ship’s owner has been accused of effectively abandoning the ship and her crew.
One of the crew members, Wagdi Akram, committed suicide on October 27, 2010 by jumping overboard. The ship’s chief engineer is believed to have been killed by the pirates in March or June of 2011.
Quoting fromThe Sunday Telegraph the Old Salt Blog attributes this statement to an unnamed shipping industry figure, saying:
“The sailors’ plight is now on the conscience of everyone in shipping. The ordeal for the crew and their families is just unimaginable, yet there doesn’t seem to be anybody coming to their aid.”
The Iceberg 1 is however not the only crew to be held hostage. Despite reports earlier this month that the pirates’ activities are finally being curbed, some 177 hostages still remain in captivity. The average length of a hijacking now is eight months. Pirates are becoming increasingly hostile in their treatment of seafarers.
Roy Paul, manager of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme, commented:
The MPHRP is currently offering support to the families of the crew members [of the MV Iceberg 1 and other vessels] in India and the Philippines through its regional directors. Pirates are now trying to extort money from the seafarers’ families who are poorer than the pirates are.
For seafarers’ responses to the MV Iceberg 1, visit The Chain Locker Blog. CLICK HERE.
ICMA prays for the crew of the Iceberg 1 and for all 177 seafarers being held captive by pirates in Somalia. May they be kept out of harm’s way. May they soon be set free and united with their families. May justice prevail.