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Somali pirates free Iranian hostage after 4 years


Captain Phillips has nothing on this guy.

An Iranian sailor, who spent more than four years in the captivity of Somali pirates, finally has been let go, reported BBC News.

Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh is reportedly “seriously ill” after having been freed on humanitarian grounds, asserted the Hostage Support Partnership on Saturday, which helped secure his freedom.

Panahandeh, along with three other Iranians, were shanghaied in 2015 off a fishing boat, stated Hostage Support Partnership Coordinator John Steed. Those captives are likely still alive and being held for ransom.

Over the past decade, thousands of sailors have been taken hostage off Somalia’s coast, according to BBC. Pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa peaked in 2011 but have significantly plummeted in recent years, claims the European Naval Force.

Data reveals that in 2011, 65 liner vessels were besieged and one was hijacked.

From 2009 to 2011, there were more than 500 reported Somali pirate attacks, but between 2014 and 2018, less than 20.

The decline has been attributed to armed guards on sailing vessels, as well as more aware navies from NATO and the European Union.

Marauders use hijacked merchant ships to attack in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, explains the World Shipping Council. Pirates operate high-speed skiffs to shoot automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in an attempt to slow down or halt vessels in order to board.

Somali pirates were the focus of the 2013 thriller “Captain Phillips,” a biographical thriller chronicling the harrowing 2009 taking of Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips, whose ship was hijacked.

The film received six Academy Award nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor Barkhad Abdi.