KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan has announced the safe release of seven Pakistani nationals who had been held hostage by Somali pirates onboard the merchant vessel MV Albedo since November 2010.
He made this announcement at a hurriedly-called press conference at the Governor House late on Wednesday night.The freed Pakistani crew members are expected to reach Karachi airport by Thursday night. A news website Somalia Report reported that: “Seven Pakistani hostages from the Malaysian-flagged container ship, MV Albedo, were released after more than 20 months in captivity following a ransom payment of $1.2 million”.
The release of the Pakistani hostage crew materialised after months of Pakistan-led international efforts, negotiations, back channel diplomacy, and coordination for adopting the modalities for fund raising and payment of a heavy ransom amount to Somali pirates.
Chief of Citizens-Police Liaison Committee Ahmed Chinoy led these humanitarian efforts from the Pakistani side. The governor said that efforts had been made to free the hostages without payment of ransom. He, however, said that an “expenditure” of $ 1.1 million had been incurred on bringing back the hostage Pakistani seamen.
He praised Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, ex-PM Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, intelligence agencies, naval authorities concerned businessmen, and philanthropists for their efforts to free and bring back the hostage Pakistani crew-members.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via thenews.com.pk. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com