The longest piracy hostage crisis in modern history has ended at last after Somali troops freed the surviving crew of the Panama-flag ro-ro vessel Iceberg 1 , which was hijacked near the Port of Aden in March 2010.
Iceberg 1 was attacked while en route to Jebel Ali in Dubai. At the time of the incident, Iceberg 1 had 24 crew on board, but two died during the 32-month ordeal.
According to the Lloyd’s List Intelligence database, the 1976-built, 5,402 gt vessel was linked to a Dubai company, Azal Shipping & Cargo.
Puntland Maritime Police Force fought a 13-day battle to free the crew. One policeman died and four were injured. The Somali forces are said to have been trained by a private security firm based in South Africa.
The surviving 22 seafarers from Yemen, Ghana, Sudan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines travelled to the town of Garowe, where — looking gaunt and exhausted — they held a press conference before preparing to travel home.
Great news that the crew were to be reunited with their families in time for new year. However, critics have questioned why international governments left it to Somalia’s fledgling anti-piracy patrols to free the men in a tricky and dangerous rescue operation.