Colorado, USA - 9 June 2014: Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) welcomes the release of the 11 remaining hostages of the MV Albedo. We particularly commend the work of the UNODC Hostage Support Programme as well as the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme as they continue to work for the safe release of all remaining hostages. The release of these hostages is a great relief for the seafarers and their families and is a positive development towards the goal of returning all the seafarers still held by pirates.
While Somali piracy has decreased in recent years, the Albedo serves as a reminder that violence against seafarers continues and the legacy of piracy persists. Both the crew and their families have endured nearly four years of suffering since the vessel was hijacked on 26 November 2010 with 23 crewmembers on board. The plight of the Albedo crew became more critical when the vessel sank on 8 July 2013, causing the pirates to move the hostages ashore for the remainder of their captivity.
Although no longer held by pirates, the crewmembers’ saga is far from over. Following the protracted period of captivity, these men are likely to require ongoing medical care and treatment. Dr. Conor Seyle of OBP, who studies the long-term effects of piracy on seafarers, says “The length of time these men were held, as well as the conditions of their captivity, puts them at particular risk of long-term impacts. Mitigating this impact will require continued commitment to support these seafarers through their reintegration process after 1,288 days spent in captivity.”
Financial hardship is also common among captive seafarers and their families because of disruption or cessation of wages and the loss of personal items. The Albedo crewmembers will likely experience financial difficulties. However, due to the unique circumstances of the seafarers’ captivity, there is the lingering question of who bears the responsibility for long-term care and financial support.
OBP hopes that the release of the Albedo crew and the rest of the remaining hostages will further encourage the international community to increase its support for creating alternative livelihoods for young Somalis and thereby put an enduring end to Somalia-based piracy.
“While we are encouraged by their release, we must stay engaged in the work to release the approximately 38 seafarers who are still held in pirate custody,” Seyle adds, “until there are zero hostages and zero ships held by pirates, the human cost is too high.”
Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) is a project of One Earth Future Foundation (OEF). OEF is a private foundation located near Denver, Colorado in the United States, which is committed to multi-stakeholder initiatives to resolve issues related to conflict. OBP encourages close cooperation across the international maritime community to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to piracy. More information can be found at: www.oceansbeyondpiracy.org