Somali Pirate Hostages Freed After Nearly Three Years

When you think of pirates, you probably think of Johnny Depp and the Caribbean. You probably don’t think of Somalia.

Pirate attacks on Somalia have declined over the past two years due to increased security and better coordination of naval patrols.

Twenty-two hostages seized by pirates nearly three years ago have been freed, the Somalian authorities say.

Their maritime mission began nearly two weeks ago to free the hostages and their ship.

The Panama-flagged MV Iceberg One was seized off the Yemeni coast in 2009, and was being held on the coast in Mudug region when it was surrounded by Puntland’s maritime troops on December 10, say sources. Somali pirates captured the ship off the coast of Yemen in March 2010 on its heading for the United Arab Emirates, according to Voice of America.

Somali pirates took almost 50 ships and received several millions of dollars in ransom payments in 2010. Hijackings have dropped sharply over the last year and a half.

Somali pirates

Puntland authorities say the troops fought the pirates for two weeks before safely rescuing all 22 hostages, says the BBC.

Their statement says:

“After two years and 9 months in captivity, the hostages have suffered signs of physical torture and illness. [They] are now receiving nutrition and medical care.”

The crew includes people from a variety of places including Yemen, India, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan and the Philippines. The ship originally had a crew of 24, but two have died since the cargo vessel was seized on March 29, 2010, the pirates said.

You’re still thinking about Johnny Depp, aren’t you?