Seafarers Released After Two Years in Somalia

Six seafarers who were kidnapped by Somali pirates in connection with the seizure of the Danish coaster M/V Leopard in January 2011, have been released and lead to safety.

The two Danish and four Philippine seamen spent more than two years in captivity but are now in safe surroundings following completion of successful negotiations by the vessel’s third-party operator Shipcraft.

”It is with very great happiness and relief we can inform that our colleagues finally have been released. The past more than two years have been extremely traumatic and inhuman for our crew and their families, and we very much look forward to having our colleagues back home”, said Claus Bech, Managing Director of Shipcraft.

The six men are now in safety and are surrounded by a professional team consisting of both doctors and psychologists.

They were kidnapped by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea in January 2011, when pirates captured the coaster M/V Leopard. The pirates damaged the ship leaving it drifting and instead kidnapped the crew and took them ashore. The hostages were moved to different locations in Somalia and only allowed to talk to their families occasionally.

Following the kidnapping, Shipcraft worked closely with Danish Authorities and kidnap experts to resolve the situation. “We are a very small company and the pirates’ expectations to the ransom have been completely unrealistic”, Claus Bech said. The company is said to have paid “considerable millions” to free the crew.

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