Chirag Bahri, MPHRP Regional Director for South Asia, L, with the 7 released seafarers.
The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) has confirmed the news that seven Indian seafarers who have been held hostage since their ship, the MV Asphalt Venture, was hijacked in the Somali Basin on 28 September 2010 have been released and are safe in Kenya.
The 1991-built, Panamanian flagged, 3884 dwt., general cargo ship “MV Asphalt Venture”, with a crew of 15 was hijacked by Somali pirates on 28 September 2010. In April 2011 the vessel with 8 of her crew was released while the remaining 7 Indian seafarers were detained ashore. Following lengthy negotiations, the release of these men was arranged after a modest payment was made to cover the logistical and transport costs of the group holding the men.
Preparations are now being made for their return to India in the next few days. Their families have been informed.
Chairman of the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP), Peter Swift, commented as follows: “After more than 4 years in captivity we are delighted for them and their families after the terrible ordeal and hardship that they have suffered. The tremendous efforts and generous support of all those who helped to secure their release and safe return are greatly appreciated, including the team at Holman Fenwick Willan who stepped in on a pro bono basis to help make this happen.”
30 seafarers and fishers are still held hostage by Somali pirates, some for more than four and a half years and the others for more than two and half years. It is thought that the pirates hold these men in the mistaken belief that substantial money can be raised to pay a ransom, whereas, in fact, working to free these people are charitable organisations with very limited resources. The United Nations and the international maritime community have called for their prompt release and for support and assistance to be given to them and their families.