Appearances are deceptive

What looks to a Western shipowner like a very small ship owned by a very small Danish company looks quite different to a Somali pirate. To them the ship is big, the owners are rich and the crew are valuable hostages. The differences between what the pirates thought the hostages were worth and what the company could find to pay to release them have kept two Danish officers and four Filipino crew members of the Danish-registered 1989-built, 1,780 dwt general cargo vessel Leopard captive in Somalia since January 2011. They were taken when pirates captured the vessel but then could not run it to a safe location. So they left the ship but took the crew ashore. The owners, Denmark’s Shipcraft, have been under a lot of pressure but claim the entire delay in release was due to unrealistic demands. We don’t know what the demands were or what ransom was paid. What we do know is that a small group of seamen have been held hostage for 28 months because of a lack of cash and resources in Somalia to free them. It is a disgrace.

Somali pirates still hold 2 vessels and 54 hostages. How long for them?

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