The crew of the Danish coaster comprising two Danes and four Filipinos were taken hostage in January 2011 in the Arabian Sea when pirates attacked their vessel the Leopard. The vessel was damaged in the attack and left drifting, and the crew were taken ashore by the pirates and held hostage in various locations in Somalia.
According to the owners of the vessel, Shipcraft, the seafarers were recently released and are now in safe surroundings.
“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.
A ransom was paid for the release of the seafarers and while Shipcraft did not reveal the sum involved it said it “paid considerable millions, substantially more than previous kidnappings where Danish citizens have been involved”.
“The kidnapping has been going on for more than two years. We are a very small company and the pirates’ expectations to the ransom have been completely unrealistic. We have together with our advisors been fighting hard every day to find a solution,” Bech said.
The main focus now will be to bring the seafarers home to their families and help readjust to normal life.
"The first evaluations are that our colleagues, considering the circumstances, are ok. However, it is important to us that they receive the best possible medical assistance now, and as soon as they have been thoroughly examined and have received the doctor’s acceptance, they will be brought home to their families.”