NAIROBI, July 22, 2013 (AFP) – On Somalia’s pirate coast, more than 50 sailors are being held for ransom in grim conditions, many abandoned by their ship’s owner whose willingness to pay to free them sank with their boat. “The pirates have shown violence… the worst case is that they become agitated and open fire.”
Last year, the pirates extorted over 31 million dollars (24 million euros) in ransom payouts, a UN monitoring report this month read.
But the sums the pirates demand are far and above anything the families of the hostages left can raise.
“What will you tell to Allah? You will be punished by Him for taking the life of innocent poor people,” the families added.
“At least release them on humanitarian grounds, else they will die in your hands.” Almost all of the 54 sailors and fishermen that are still being held come from poor families in Asia, who say their pleas for help are falling on deaf ears.
Fifteen of the hostages are from the Malaysian-flagged container ship MV Albedo, which was captured in November 2010 and sank this month in rough seas, raising fears about the crew’s fate.
“Now that the vessel has sunk, the owner has no interest to pay money and rescue the crew,” families