Eleven crew members held hostage by Somali pirates for almost four years are now free, regional and United Nations officials said on Saturday. The 11 men freed on Friday were crew on Malaysian-owned cargo vessel MV Albedo which was hijacked 1,500km off Somalia in November 2010 while sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Kenya. MV Albedo’s 23-man crew was made up of sailors from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran when it was seized. John Steed, a former British army colonel who has spent years helping negotiate their release, said the men sneaked out a window to escape their captors.
It is great news that they are at least free. Given what they have been through, they are all in good health.
Former British army colonel and hostage negotiator John Steed
Seven of the ship’s crew were released in 2012 while four others drowned when the ship sank last year. It is believed one hostage was killed soon after the vessel was hijacked. Nick Kay, the U.N.’s envoy to Somalia, said the 11 crew have been flown to Kenya and will be sent back to their respective countries in coming days. The number of attacks by Somali pirates has fallen over the last two years due to increased naval patrols and the presence of well-armed security teams on ships.