After being held hostage by Somali pirates for two years, a Sri Lankan sailor has finally been freed.
According to the government of Sri Lanka, Kas Soorasena, a sailor aboard the MV Orana, is on his way home. The hijack ship is owned by Kassab Inter Shipping company, which is based out of Ajman, the smallest Emirate of the United Arab Emirates.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs announced that he is currently with Sri Lankan diplomats in Nairobi Kenya. Unfortunately there is no news regarding the other 19 members of the captive crew. The Ministry of External Affairs released the following statement:
“The ministry … was in constant contact with the owner of the vessel with a view of securing the release of Mr Soorasena while keeping his family briefed about the developments on a regular basis… During a recent visit of president Mahinda Rajapaksa to Dubai to attend the World Energy Forum, the minister of external affairs, Prof GL Peiris, urged the shipping company to make early arrangements to secure the release of Mr Soorasena.”
The circumstances under which the shipping company secured the release of their sailor are still unclear, and nobody from Kassab Inter Shipping was available to comment on the situation. It is encouraging, however, if the company played a role in the release of its employee, as many have recently been accused of leaving their sailors to a horrible fate. Shipping companies routinely balk at paying the steep ransom Somali pirates demand for their human capital.