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* Two Sri Lankan crew members of pirated ship 'MV Albedo' returns home
Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 11:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 13, Colombo: Two Sri Lankan crew members of the pirated Malaysian-flagged ship MV Albedo released from captivity have returned home.

The two surviving crew members, Mr. S M M Bisthamy and Mr. S D A N Perera arrived in Sri Lanka Friday (13th June) on a flight from Nairobi via Doha.

The Somali pirates on June 7th released the 11 survivors of the Malaysian-flagged MV Albedo crew to officials from the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) inside Somalia and they were taken to Kneya.

Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs in coordination with the Sri Lanka High Commission in Nairobi had arranged the repatriation of two Sri Lankan seamen, Bisthamy and Perera, employed on MV Albedo.

The Malaysian cargo vessel, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in November 26, 2010 in the Gulf of Aden, had a crew of 23 on board, including six Sri Lankans.

The ship sank close to the Somali coast on July 9, 2013 due to mechanical failure and bad weather and five crew members and seven Somali pirates died and 13 others went missing when it sank. Four Sri Lankan crew members had been reported missing, and are presumed dead.

On the instructions of the Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Sri Lanka High Commissions in Nairobi and Kuala Lumpur liaised with the Foreign Ministries of the respective countries and the UN Hostage Release and Repatriation Office to secure the early release of the Sri Lankan seamen, while keeping their families briefed of developments regularly.

The surviving two Sri Lankan crew members who had been released were handed over to the Sri Lanka High Commission in Nairobi recently by the UN authorities. The Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry with the assistance of the Sri Lanka High Commission in Nairobi and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) made arrangements to facilitate their repatriation to Sri Lanka.

The Ministry of External Affairs along with the Ministry of Ports and Highways have advised Sri Lankan seafarers to be cautious on taking the sea route close to Somalia due to the continuous acts of piracy by Somali armed groups.

The Ministry of External Affairs expressed appreciation to the UN authorities for the efforts taken to secure the release of Sri Lankan seamen, Mr. S M M Bisthamy and Mr. S D A N Perera.

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