Somalia: UN agency welcomes release of hijacked ship used to carry food aid
Calling on authorities to take action to curb piracy in Somali waters, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) hailed the release of a hijacked ship used for carrying food aid which had been hijacked in February off the coast of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in the northeast of the African country.
The MV Rozen and its 12-member crew, comprising six Kenyans and six Sri Lankans, had completed its contract with WFP on 22 February when it dropped off 1,800 metric tons of food from Mombasa in Kenya to Bossaso in Somalia when it was hijacked on 25 February.
“WFP welcomes the release after 40 days of the MV Rozen,” said the agency’s Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens, thanking elders in Puntland for their mediation efforts in securing the ship’s release last week.
“The treat of piracy however is still very much alive in Somali waters,” Mr. Goossens added, and he urged the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and authorities in Puntland to curtail piracy.
News of the ship’s release was delayed due to security concerns.
This incident has caused reluctance among shippers to carry cargoes to Somalia, creating delays in delivering much-needed food aid to the country.
In 2005, the MV Semlow, the MV Rozen’s sister vessel, was hijacked while carrying WFP food supplies and held for more than 100 days.
Another ship contracted by WFP, the MV Miltzow, was hijacked as it was unloading food aid at the Somali port of Merca and held for 33 hours.