How many sailors are still hostages of Somali pirates?

FV Siraj and FV Jaber at anchor off Somalia, seen by an EUNAVFOR plane / Credit: EUNAVFOR Atalanta
FV Siraj and FV Jaber at anchor off Somalia, seen by an EUNAVFOR plane / Credit: EUNAVFOR Atalanta

(BRUSSELS2) It is a silent drama. And no one really cares about their fate.

The official record...

Officially, there are still 26 sailors held hostage by Somali pirates. Those of FV Naham 3 for almost 4 years (3 years and more than 200 days) held against their will somewhere in Somalia. This fishing boat under the Omani flag was captured on March 26, 2012 about 65 nautical miles south of the Seychelles. 3 sailors died: one during the attack, 2 during their captivity. Read in particular: The FV Naham 3, spotted without hostages

… and the unofficial report

To this official report must be added the 19 sailors of the Iranian fishing boat F.V. Siraj captured on March 26, 2015 off the coast of Hobyo in the company of the F.V. Jaber (1) and who are believed to be detained at sea, near the village of Ceel Huur in the Galmudug region.

Fortunately the Jaber and its crew (of 17 people according to the Iranian information agency) managed to escape on August 27, according to the NGO Ocean Behond Piracy. " They took advantage of a moment of inattention from their guards, overflown by a helicopter or something else, to cut the moorings and put the engine back on OBP's John Steed told Reuters. Going up, by their own means, towards the northeast, in the direction of Iran, according to our information, they then " rencontré “, a Spanish ship of the EUNAVFOR force, the ESPS Galicia, which then gave them food and water, allowing them to replenish their supplies.

45 sailors hostages

In fact, there are therefore 45 sailors in the hands of Somali pirates, to which we can add 2 Kenyans captured on land and detained by one of the pirate groups according to OBP.


(1) An unrecorded capture by international forces in the Gulf. The Somalis argue that they were fishing illegally in their waters (a reason often invoked by the pirates to give a “non-criminal” color to their actions. Iran is the main country not directly involved in the coordination process and deconfliction group SHADE which normally meets every 3 months in Bahrain.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).