Quotulatiousness

December 27, 2012

Captives in longest hijack freed after nearly three years

Filed under: Africa, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 10:27

The crew of the Iceberg 1 are now free, after enduring the longest pirate kidnapping in modern history:

How’s this for a seasonal tale to warm the hearts? After almost three years in captivity, the crew of the Iceberg 1, a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates, are home after finally being rescued.

For the benefit of those who haven’t followed the story — and there are probably plenty, as it’s had only scant coverage — the Iceberg 1 was captured back in March 2010, and has languished in pirate custody ever since.

As we reported back in the summer, the ship essentially fell between two stools. Its Dubai-based owner, who appears not to have been insured, refused to pay a ransom for it and simply went to ground, ignoring pleas for help from the hostages’ families.

Meanwhile, the governments representing the different sailors on board — six Indians, nine Yemenis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, two Pakistanis and one Filipino — were either unable or unwilling to mount a rescue attempt. So, too,was the multinational anti-piracy force, which generally prefers hijacked ships to be freed by ransom, on the basis that freeing sailors by force carries too much risk of casualties.

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