Fishing Vessel Run Aground on Somali Coast; Crew Rescued, Repatriated & Investigation Ongoing


YEMEN-registered fishing vessel, Al Amal, was wrecked on the coast of Somalia, south of the former pirate stronghold of Eyl on the night of August 5, 2015, after running aground. The survivors, spectacularly rescued by Puntland Maritime Police Forces, with EUNAVFOR standing by to assist, are now safely repatriated in Kenya. The Captain and Chief Engineer are assisting with the investigation into fishing activities.

All 34 crew (including 14 Kenyans, 12 Indonesians, 6 Vietnamese, and 2 Yemenis) were saved in a dramatic cliff rescue by the Puntland Maritime Police Force closely monitored by EUNAVFOR.

Having prevented the crew from being taken hostage by pirate groups, the crew are now safely in Garowe awaiting repatriation. The repatriation is being coordinated by UNODC and the NGO Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) in Nairobi, with the various countries involved, under the Hostage Support Partnership.

Issues related to the Al Amal’s fishing activities are now being investigated by Puntland authorities. Some media reports state that the vessel possessed a fishing license, however, the legality of which is questioned.

UPDATE [12 Aug]: Under arrangements made by the Kenyan Government supported by UNODC, OBP, and the Embassy of Indonesia in Nairobi, the crew of the FV Al Amal, which sank off the Somali Coast last Friday, were safely repatriated to Kenya from the Puntland State of Somalia.

In a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Garowe, the Vice President of Puntland, Abdihakim Abdullahi Haji Omar, handed 32 members of the crew over to John Steed of OBP and representatives of Kenya and the Minister Councilor of the Indonesian Embassy in Nairobi.

In his remarks John Steed thanked the President of Puntland and the Puntland Maritime Police Force for a spectacular rescue of the wrecked ship’s crew in difficult and dangerous conditions and for preventing the crew from falling into the hands of Somali pirates. The sea-based support from EUNAVFOR in maintaining contact with all involved and for standing by for a sea-based rescue, had it been required, all contributed to the comprehensive solution needed to save the lives of this crew.

The crew will now be repatriated to their home countries though the ship’s Captain and Chief Engineer were arrested by Puntland authorities and are now assisting the Puntland Regional Government with investigations into the fishing activities of the FV Al Amal. The Puntland Regional Government also intends to seek assurances from the owners about securing the wreck and preventing environmental damage to the Somali coastline.

The help and assistance of the Kenyan Government was very much appreciated for facilitating this humanitarian rescue.