Filipinos Among 26 Sailors Released by Somali Pirates

Twenty-six sailors held captive in a small village by Somali pirates since 2012 have been released, a government official said Saturday.

The sailors, all men from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, were seized when Omani flagged fishing vessel FV Naham 3 was hijacked on 26 March 2012 roughly 65 nautical miles south of the Seychelles. During that time, pirate attacks were a regular occurrence in waters linking Europe with Africa and Asia, reported Reuters.

“The crew is here (in Galkayo). They will be flown to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Saturday,” local mayor Hirsi Yusuf Barre, was quoted as saying by the news agency. “The crew did not say if ransom was paid.”

Of the original 29-member crew, one was killed during the hijacking and two more succumbed to illness during their captivity.

A local security official said their vessel had sunk in unknown circumstances, the report said, adding that the sailors were held in Dabagala near the village of Harardheere some 400 km (250 miles) northeast of the capital Mogadishu, a fishing hamlet that became known as Somalia’s main pirate base at the height of the crisis.

Although there are still occasional cases of sea attacks, piracy off Somalia’s coast has subsided in the past three years, mainly due to shipping firms hiring private security details and the presence of international warships, according to Reuters.