Broomfield, Colorado – October 22, 2016. Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a program of One Earth Future (OEF), and a member of the Hostage Support Partnership, announces the release of the last 26 hostages held by Somali pirates from the large commercial vessels taken during the height of the piracy crisis. The hostages, who endured horrific conditions for nearly five years after their ship, FV Naham-3, was attacked in March 2012, were treated by medical staff in Nairobi prior to their return to their home countries.
The hostages, from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan (Province of China) and Vietnam, are severely malnourished but are reported to be in reasonable condition considering their ordeal. Much of their captivity was spent in a rugged, isolated area of Somalia with little food, water or medical assistance. Two died from illness during their more than 4.5 years in captivity.
According to John Steed, coordinator of the Hostage Support Partnership for Oceans Beyond Piracy, “Many people spent long hours over many months working to secure the release of these men. We are pleased to have helped coordinate the release of the Naham-3 crew so these brave men can finally return home to their families.”
The hostages were held for 1,672 days, one of the longest periods of captivity for hostages held by Somali pirates. Their release represents the end of captivity for the last remaining seafarers taken hostage between 2008 and 2011, the height of Somali piracy
According to Dr. Conor Seyle, director of OEF Research, “Although these men are no longer hostages, piracy can leave lasting impacts on seafarers and their families and they may experience effects from their captivity for years to come.” Seyle added, “But seafarers are a psychologically resilient group and our research suggests the large majority of hostages, about 75 percent, will recover with no lasting impact. Recovery is best achieved with assistance and support—good training, planning and communication before an attack, support for families while seafarers are hostages, and a process of reintegration and formal mental health support for hostages and their families once they have returned.”
While overall numbers are down in the Western Indian Ocean, OBP’s State of Piracy report found that in 2015, pirates in the region attacked at least 306 seafarers.
About OEF and OBP:
OEF is a self-funded, private operating foundation seeking to create a more peaceful world through collaborative, data-driven initiatives. We focus on programs that enhance maritime cooperation, create sustainable jobs in fragile economies and our research actively contributes to thought leadership on global issues. As an operating foundation, One Earth Future provides strategic, financial and administrative support allowing our programs to focus deeply on complex problems and to create constructive alternatives to violent conflict.
OBP was launched in 2010 as OEF’s first implementation program to encourage and support the development of a long-term, sustainable and peaceful solution to maritime piracy through engaging all relevant maritime stakeholders. The Hostage Support Partnership is a multi-stakeholder group focusing on gaining the release of piracy’s forgotten hostages. The HSP provides humanitarian support, including medical and emotional assistance, to hostages during and after their time in captivity.