Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Good News from Pirate Territory as Somali Hostage Freed

Ransom Apparently Secures Release of Journalist
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – After being held by Somali pirates for over two and a half years, US-German journalist Michael Scott Moore has been released after a ransom was reportedly paid. Moore was kidnapped in January 2012 in the Somali town of Galkayo, when on his way to the airport. He had been in the country to conduct research for a book on piracy when his security had apparently betrayed him and handed Moore over to the pirates on his last day in Somalia.

The pirates, thought to be of the Sa’ad clan, had reportedly demanded a ransom of US$20 million for Moore with other reports stating that the pirates had initially demanded $8 million which had later dropped to $3 million. Though no official confirmation surrounding the details of the ransom has been announced, the journalist is said to be in a good condition for what he went through and is on his way home.

Very little was publicised during Moore’s 976 days as hostage at the request of his family in order to help secure his release. A rescue attempt by a US Navy SEAL team had been made a few weeks after Moore had been kidnapped, where two other hostages – aid workers Jessica Buchanan (American citizen) and Poul Thisted, (Danish citizen) – were found, who had been taken in a similar fashion three months prior to Moore. The SEALs didn’t have enough time to find Moore in their rescue mission. Reports had also circulated that Moore had been shot whilst trying to flee from his captors. He was treated in a local hospital under strict supervision by the pirates.

As we pointed out in our article yesterday on the growing trend of attacks in Asia, piracy off the coast of Africa has gradually been reduced due mainly to the cooperation between organised naval forces, the use of Best Management Practices, and the use of armed security personnel on ships which together patrolled danger areas such as the Indian Ocean. According to Eunavfor, this year has so far only seen 2 attacks in Somali waters and only around 37 hostages left in the pirates’ custody – 4 from the Prantalay 12 (April 2010, fishing vessel with a Thai crew), 7 of the Asphalt Venture (September 2010, bitumen tanker with an Indian crew), and 26 from the Naham 3 (July 2012, fishing vessel, all from Asia).