Somali piracy – year-end humanitarian tragedy

This humanitarian tragedy of Somali piracy becomes particularly apparent over Christmas and New Year with 212 people still being held hostage – even after the release of the Italian crude oil tanker Savina Caylin this week at the end of more than 315 days of being held by pirates.

The merchant ships Iceberg1, Olib G, Albedo, Orna, Fairchem Bogey, Liquid Velvet have clocked up over 2,000 days between them with 127 hostages on board in total.

The fishing vessels Malaysia618, Shiuh Fu No 1, Al Musaah, Alfardous have clocked up 1,595 days between them with 72 hostages on board in total.

The yacht Choizilhas clocked up 417 days with two hostages on board.

But we think in particular of those seafarers being held without the negotiating power ofbeing on board a ship – this includes the seafarers not released and retained when the Asphalt Traderwas released (seven Indians), when the Gemini was released (four South Koreans)and when the rest of the crew from the fishing boat Prantalay 12 were released(four Thais). They are now being held ashore and should NOT become the forgottencasualties of Somali piracy.

The SOS SaveOurSeafarers campaign is already looking for funds for 2012 from its 30 supportingorganisations. The campaign hopes to gather enough funding to continue through 2012 at the same pace as it did in 2011, and will not give up until our seafarers can trade their ships through the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean without fear of attack by Somali pirates.