Piracy REPORT:Piracy
MV Iceberg 1 - Interview with Hostages
by Andrew Mwangura
02/08/2011
The Panamanian flagged Ro-Ro ship MV ICE BERG I was attacked and hijacked by armed pirates on 29th March last year while underway in position latitude 13:15 north and longitude 046:40 east in the Gulf of Aden at approximately 0930hrs.

On March 29th, 2010 the MV ICEBERG 1 was only ten miles out from the port of Aden heading to the United Kingdom when she was attacked and seized by Somali pirates. Her cargo consists of generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks for a British power rental company, Aggreko International Power Projects.

The ICEBERG 1, a RoRo ship with a multinational crew, is typical of much of the traffic in the region, but they became an example of the inhumanity dealt to innocent seafarers on behalf of piracy.

On December 17th the Captain of the vessel, Abdirazzak Ali Saleh, told Agence France-Presse, "The water we have is unclean and we have only one meal a day, boiled rice, that's it. The crew is suffering physically and mentally," in a phone interview. He added that they had been locked up in a lower hold approximately five meters square for close to nine months.

Earlier reports indicated that the negotiations were in progress, but the crew members now tell Somalia Report that nothing good is going on except hunger and starvation. A crew member also said that there are currently three crew members suffering from psychological problems.

Almost a year after being hijacked by pirates, the situation aboard MV ICEBERG I is very dark and gloomy, according to a phone interview with the crew members conducted by Somali Report. They are running out of ship stores, fuel and fresh water supply, and in their opinion, Dubai-based Azal Shipping, the ship owner has abandoned them.

They alleged that no negotiations are ongoing to secure the release of the vessel and her 23 multinational crew. They also claim that nothing is being done on behalf of their deceased mate who died on October 27, 2010. The Iceberg's 3rd officer Wagdi Akram, father of four, jumped overboard and drowned. Crew members told Somalia Report that the deceased crew man had begun to suffer psychological problems after 7 months in captivity and knowingly ended his life.

The remains of the deceased Yemeni 3rd Officer are being kept in the vessel’s freezers but there is only sporadic generator power. The crew reported the matter to the ship owner, but the owner just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel. There have been no arrangements to fly it back to Yemen. "The body is still in the freezer but we have no diesel to run the generators," the captain said.

The multinational crew of the vessel is comprised of 8 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 Ghanaians, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino.