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All hostages held by Somali pirates released

Storyline:National News, Security

Somali pirates who made millions of dollars at the height of hijackings ten years ago have released all hostages under their control, a campaign group monitoring piracy in the high seas has said.

International Maritime Bureau said this past week the last Iranian hostages who have been in the hands of pirates since 2015 were released last month.

The three were working on FV Siraj when it was hijacked off Hobyo, Somalia in March 2015. They are now on their way home after completing COVID-19 tests and other medical checks, IMB said.

In a letter dated 15 September, the Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) expressed relief over the release; made possible due to the intervention of the Hostage Support Partners (HSP).

“Their continuous pro-bono support and negotiations with Somalia pirates and other key stakeholder, over the years led to freeing of the remaining crew members,” CGPCS said.

According to IMB, Somali pirates took more than 3,600 people hostage in the last five years attacks on ships varying in size from tankers through to container transporters, dhows, fishing vessels and yachts.

No attacks were reported off Somalia in 2019 and up to June 2020. In 2018 three vessels were reported being fired upon in the region.