Following the pirating of the ships in the Indian Ocean, currently there are 199 men and 1 woman held hostage in Somalia as part of a ransom business.
Ever since the EU NAVFOR counter-piracy mission was introduced in December 2008, the total number of 2317 merchant seamen have been held hostage for at least 5 months. The longest period in captivity is 19 months for the 24 crew members of the M/V ICEBERG 1, who are still being held.
There are still 3 ships abandoned and derelict on the beach, creating a source of potential pollution, whilst their crews of 54 men remain in captivity.
Although the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia has been greatly dealt with over the past 4 years, the fate of the 200 hostages remains uncertain.
World Maritime News Staff, December 21, 2011; Image: EU Navfor