WFP welcomed today the release of the hijacked vessel MV Rozen and its crew and urged authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in northeastern Somalia and the Transitional Federal Government to curb piracy in Somali waters.
“WFP welcomes the release after 40 days of the MV Rozen and its 12-person crew on Thursday night and thanks elders in Puntland for their mediation,” said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens.
“The threat of piracy however is still very much alive in Somali waters and WFP urges the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the Puntland authorities to curb this menace,” he added. News of the release was delayed for security reasons.
The threat of piracy however is still very much alive in Somali waters
Peter Goossens, WFP Somalia Country Director
The MV Rozen was contracted by WFP to carry 1,800 metric tons of food aid from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Berbera and Bossaso in northeastern Somalia. It completed its contract with WFP when it discharged its last food aid in Berbera on 22 February.
The Mombasa-based ship was hijacked off Puntland on 25 February and was released three kilometres off the Somali coast near the small seasonal fisherman's settlement of Dhigdhiley in Puntland.
The 12-man crew of the MV Rozen consists of six Kenyans and six Sri Lankans, including the captain.
The hijacking made shippers reluctant to carry cargoes to Somalia and caused delays in transporting food aid to Somalia.
The MV Semlow, a sister vessel of the MV Rozen was hijacked with WFP food aid onboard in Somali waters for more than 100 days in 2005.
Another WFP-contracted ship, the MV Miltzow, was hijacked for 33 hours in October 2005 while it was unloading WFP food aid at the Somali port of Merca.