“At least four foreign crew members and seven Somali pirates died when a cargo ship that the pirates were holding to ransom off the Somali coast, sank on Sunday, and 13 others were missing,” reported Reuters, quoting “a pirate who works with the gang”.
Initial reports on the Reuters site said merely that 11 persons had died when the Albedo sank. The Malaysian-owned MV Albedo cargo vessel and its crew were hijacked on November 26, 2010.
Imagine one of those seafarers being your loved one. For almost three years now, pirates have held those men on an unstable vessel under what must have been dire circumstances. Almost all hope of release had faded as all negotiations had effectively been abandoned. And now, to hear that the ship has sunk with 11 lives lost.
The injustice inflicted upon these seafarers and their families is abhorrent. The maritime industry and all who rely upon it for global trade should be ashamed that it had not rescued these seafarers in time. These seafarers were abandoned by all upon whom they could have reasonably relied upon to come to their aid.
Where was the flag state? Surely governments’ stance that they would not negotiate with pirates cannot be the last word on the matter? Is there any justification for not doing much else to secure the safety of their citizens?
What has become of the dealer who double-crossed this vulnerable crew?
Where is the owner who wouldn’t pay ransom before he had the vessel back?
Is there really no effective peer pressure in this industry?
But all of this is almost academic now, isn’t it? Let’s remember that no amount of compensation will cover the loss these families have suffered. Not that there ever was any hope of compensation, as the ship was never insured!
What confidence might families have in future in feeble assurances that all is being done to save their seafarers, that they should not take matters in their own hand, and that they should not resort to using the media or succumb to pressure from the media?
And now, to add insult to injury, we are given to trust news reports from the very people who have taken the lives of these seafarers as if to dispose of them at will, because we have not maintained contact with this forgotten crew.
The moral responsibility to have ensured that justice prevailed for these seafarers and their families, leaves none of us untainted. I am ashamed.
I mourn the sinking of the Albedo.