Photo update: sunken MV Albedo lifeboats sighted from the air on Somali beach.
Earlier this week, EU Naval Force confirmed that the Malaysian flagged Motor Vessel MV Albedo, held by armed pirates in an anchorage close to the Somali coast since November 2010, had sunk in rough seas
An EU Naval Force warship and Maritime Patrol Aircraft closed the scene to search for survivors.
During the aerial search, EU Naval Force Maritime Patrol Aircraft sighted two life boats on a Somali beach approximately 14 miles north of the position of the Albedo. No members of the MV Albedo crew or pirates were sighted in or near the lifeboats.
In related news the Somali Contact Group on Counter Piracy and Maritime Security issued the following statement:
"MV Albedo sank during the night on Saturday 6 July 2013. The vessel had been held by armed Somali Pirates since 12 November 2010. During this time, the ship had suffered significant mechanical and structural issues, and coupled with recent bad weather during the South West monsoon, it sank in relatively shallow waters off the Somali coast. As released images show, the superstructure of the vessel remains visible above the water.
Despite the precarious and fragile condition of the vessel, it appears that the 15 man crew on board the MV Albedo were kept on board by their armed captors – a situation that was entirely avoidable, given that the vessel was equipped with life boats.
When the vessel got in to difficulty, we believe that pirates from another nearby pirated vessel, FV Naham 3, (which is currently astern of the Albedo), made attempts to move the MV Albedo hostages to FV Naham 3.
Unfortunately, the status of the crew of MV Albedo remains uncertain at this time.
We, along with the charity, Maritime Piracy and Humanitarian Response (MPHRP), and other organisations, are working with the Somali Government, regional administrations and local leaders to try and determine the precise details and status of the crew so as to be able to tell the families. Understandably, we would like to do this prior to releasing information to the Media. We would hope that the Media will respect this request.
We call on the pirates holding the MV Albedo crew to release them immediately. They have been held hostage against their will since November 2010 and have now had to try and escape from their sinking ship. Our thoughts go out to them and their families.
We urge those who are holding the hostages to make contact with us so that we can confirm their status and release.
We are ready to assist in informing the Albedo families of the fate of their loved ones."