UN food aid ship seized by pirates off Somali coast released after three months

4 October 2005
Hijacked Semlow ship off of Central Somalia

A United Nations-chartered ship that was seized by pirates off the Somali coast three months ago while carrying food for 28,000 survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami has been released, the UN Food Programme (WFP) said today.

A United Nations-chartered ship that was seized by pirates off the Somali coast three months ago while carrying food for 28,000 survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami has been released, the UN Food Programme (WFP) said today.

WFP was awaiting confirmation that the cargo of 850 tons of rice was still on board and safe, spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume told a news briefing in Geneva, adding that the agency had not paid any ransom.

The MV Semlow was seized on 27 June while on its way from Mombasa, Kenya, with a 10-man crew and rice for the Puntland region in northern Somalia, the first time in WFP history that a ship carrying relief food has been hijacked.

Ten days ago the agency announced that the hijackers had reneged on an agreement to release the vessel, adding new ransom demands. WFP, which has since replaced the Puntland food with another shipment, demanded the Semlow’s unconditional release.

 

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