The Somali government has confirmed that after two years, Somali pirates have released three Syrian hostages.
In 2010, the vessel MV Orna, owned and operated by a company from the United Arab Emirates, was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, near the island of Seychelles. All 21 of the surviving crew members have been returned now that the last 3 are free.
According to Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, the pirates did not receive any ransom for the three crew members from Syria, and furthermore called on all pirates to unconditionally release all ships and hostages.
He continued, “As government officials we are happy to see the release of our Muslim brothers and it’s my desire to thank all those, who helped freeing the hostages.”
Somalia continues to require foreign assistance to rid the pirates from its waters. Thanks to recent international coordination, piracy in Somalia is on the decline.
It is, however, still a major problem although, recent successes are indeed encouraging. Earlier this year, several hostages were freed by pirates, and late last year Somali forces raided the MV Iceberg 1 and freed 22 hostages on board that vessel.
The ship had been hijacked off the coast of Yemen in 2009 and held crew members of varying nationalities, though it was flagged as a Panamanian vessel.
Even outside of NATO and European Union coordination, countries in the region such as Iran are contributing their own efforts by sending military patrols through the region to protect ships.