The Somali government confirmed the release of three Syrian nationals by armed Somali pirates after more than two years of captivity.
The three were the last of 21 surviving crew members to be freed from the MV Orna owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ship was hijacked 400 nautical miles northeast of Seychelles in December 2010.
Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said that no ransom was paid for the release of the Syrian nationals and called on pirates to free all ships and hostages they are holding unconditionally.
The Prime Minister also said that his administration will not tolerate threats emanating from the high seas. In early January, three hostages, two Sri Lankan and a Syrian national were freed from pirates. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre recorded that 125 vessels were boarded, 24 hijacked and 26 fired upon. In addition, 58 attempted attacks were reported.
According to a maritime watchdog, piracy in Somalia has fallen to a three-year low as a result of coordinated action by international navies along the Gulf of Aden.
In the first nine months of 2012, there were 70 Somali attacks compared with 199 for the same period in 2011. And from July to September, just one ship reported an attempted attack by Somali pirates, compared with 36 incidents in the same three months last year.
Somali Prime Minister now appeals to the international community to assist his government to end threats like piracy and terrorism in Somalia.
Several countries including Iran have dispatched fleets of warships to the Gulf of Aden and North of the Indian Ocean to protect their cargo ships and oil tankers. Iran Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
According to maritime report by the International Maritime Bureau, eight boats and 139 hostages are still held by Somali pirates, while some pirates have turned to land-based kidnapping and banditry instead.