Seajack off Somalia:
Lankan Captain, crew still held
ONE month and two days into the hijacking of the WFP chartered ship
MV Semlov off the Somali coast the authorities are still negotiating the
release of the ship with its 10 member crew and Sri Lankan captain S.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the Sri Lankan High Commissioner
in Kenya M. Keeran met the Somali Foreign Minister in Nairobi on Tuesday
to seek his assistance to persuade the hijackers to release the crew.
"Our High Commissioner has been assured of Somali assistance. The
Minister had said that he will do his best to get the crew released,"
the spokesperson said.
The High Commissioner had urged the Somali Minister to get in touch
with the rebel group and convince them to release the crew of the ship
which was on a WFP humanitarian mission.
He is also in constant contact with the Nigerian ambassador in Somali
who has been maintaining direct contact with the pirates to secure the
A country torn by rebel wars, Somalia is known as a lawless land,
with even the Government setting its base in Nairobi due to security
The WFP chartered Kenyan vessel was seized by Somali pirates on June
28 and has since been held at anchor several kilometres off the Somalia
coast, with the pirates demanding a US $ 500,000 ransom.
According to the WFP it was carrying a rice consignment for Somali
tsunami survivors at the time of its capture.
Since its capture the Kenyan shipping company and the WFP has been
negotiating with the leaders of the group responsible through the Kenyan
embassy in Somalia.
Reuters reported early this week that the hijackers have agreed to
release the eight Kenyan crew members on July 25 subsequent to talks
with a Kenyan Minister but were going to hold the Tanzanian engineer and
the Captain in the ship.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said they were yet to receive
information of any release of captives by the pirates.