Seven Indian seafarers held hostage by Somalian pirates for more than four years have been released.
The men are the remaining crew members of the Panama-flagged 3,884dwt general cargo ship Asphalt Venture, which was hijacked on 28 September 2010. In April 2011 eight of the crew, along with the vessel, were released, leaving seven men detained ashore.
A statement from the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) said the release was achieved by “lengthy negotiations” and a “modest payment” to cover “the logistical and transport costs of the group holding the men”.
The seven, who are currently staying at a hotel in Nairobi, will be returned to India “in the next few days”, said MPHRP, which has informed the men’s families.
MPHRP thanked a team at legal firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) “who stepped in on a pro bono basis to help make [the release] happen”.
Speaking to IHS Maritime, HFW partner James Gosling said the main role of the legal firm was to look after the “compliance and regulatory side” of the situation.