Somali pirates free 26 hostages after nearly five years

Somali pirates free 26 hostages held since 2012

Somali pirates on Saturday released 26 hostages after nearly five years, an organization involved in mediation efforts said.

A regional coordinator of the organization, Oceans Beyond Piracy, John Steed said that an Omani-flagged fishing vessel FV Naham 3 was hijacked south of the Seychelles in March 2012.

Steed said in a statement; “Of the original 29-member crew, sadly one died during the hijacking and two more succumbed to illness during their captivity. The remaining 26 crew members spent much of their captivity on land in Somalia. ”

The hostages are all men and are from China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The spent over four and a half years in deplorable conditions away from their families.  According to the statement.

The statement added their release represented the end of captivity for the last remaining seafarers taken hostage during the height of Somali piracy.

It however said the threat of piracy remains, and urged the shipping industry to continue to follow the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia-based Piracy to reduce risks.

China on Sunday confirmed the release of the captives.