Source: MPHRP media release
Picture courtsy Robyn Kriel @robynleekriel in Twitter
The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) has welcomed the release and safe return of the remaining crew from the MV Albedo.
Commenting on their arrival into Kenya on 7 June 20124 MPHRP chair Peter Swift said: “After 1288 days in captivity we are delighted for them and their families after the terrible ordeal and hardship that they have suffered. At the same time our thoughts are also with the family of the Indian seafarer who died in captivity and the families of the four Sri Lankan seafarers who are reported as missing after the vessel sank in July 2013.”
“The generous support of MPHRP’s partners and friends, together with the extensive groundwork and cooperation of the UNODC and others, helped to facilitate the release of the 7 Bangladeshi, 2 Sri Lankan, 1 Indian and I Iranian crew members after they had been abandoned by the owner and with no direct support forthcoming from other parties. The efforts of all those involved in securing their release and safe return are greatly appreciated.”
It may be worth recalled here that the Malaysian flagged containership “MV Albedo” with a crew of 23 was hijacked by Somali pirates on 26 November 2010. The ship was effectively abandoned by its owner soon thereafter. One Indian seafarer died in captivity. In July 2012, following a local campaign, a deal was struck for the release of the 7 Pakistani crew members on board and they returned home safely.
In July 2013 the progressively unseaworthy vessel sank in a heavy storm. Subsequently 7 Bangladeshi, 2 Sri Lankan, 1 Indian and 1 Iranian seafarer were held hostage ashore, while the fate of 4 Sri Lankans on board at the time of the sinking remains unknown.
Elaborating further, MPHRP Acting Programme Director Hennie La Grange said: “For more than three years MPHRP has been supporting the families of the crew with regular contact and visits, has organised a series of combined and individual counselling sessions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India, and has been providing, together with its partners, financial assistance to help with tuition fees, medicines and other living costs. On several occasions the Programme formally appealed to the Somali and international communities to press the hijackers to release the seafarers on humanitarian grounds. “
“MPHRP is meeting the seafarers and will help them to get home. The Programme’s care of these seafarers and their families does not stop here. Upon repatriation the seafarers will be helped to reunite with their families and to reintegrate in society. Their complete recovery will entail a return to health after living in squalor for the past three and a half years and a return to gainful employment, hopefully at sea. MPHRP will continue its efforts to facilitate the Albedo crew’s successful rehabilitation.”
La Grange also paid tribute to the personal efforts and dedication of MPHRP Programme Director Roy Paul and Regional Director Chirag Bahri to support and assist all of the affected families, often on a daily basis.
Swift and La Grange also added: “Today we remember also the nearly 40 seafarers and fishers still held hostage in Somalia, all of whom have been held for more than two years – some for over four years – and encourage everyone who can do so to work tirelessly for their prompt release and to support and assist them and their families.”
The MPHRP is a pan-industry alliance of ship owners, managers, manning agents, insurers, maritime unions, and professional and welfare associations working together with governmental and intergovernmental organisations, which was established in 2010 to assist and support these seafarers and address many of the concerns that they express.