After four and a half years being held by Somali pirates, the 26 surviving men of the fishing vessel Naham 3 were freed on the 22nd October 2016. The press reported this event around the world – particularly in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, where the families of the hostages, government representatives and well-wishers turned out to meet them when they arrived home.
Naham 3 seafarers – after the homecoming
ISWAN / MPHRP have been working with some of the seafarers’ families for years now. Initially, support was provided to keep a roof over their heads and to assist with food, but as time went on support shifted to longer-term work to provide better livelihoods and education for children. So what happens to them now they are home?
Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN, explained: “The seafarers have not been paid since the fishing vessel was captured. As is sometimes the case, the company did not meet the huge ransom demand made initially, nor did salaries continue for the time spent in captivity. This forced the families to find support in other ways, through relatives, by finding other work, or grants from organisations like ISWAN.”
Chirag Bahri of ISWAN/MPHRP in India, himself a former hostage and a seafarer, who has worked with hostages and their families in South Asia for four years, said: “Eventually we hope that with proper rehabilitation plans, the seafarers will come out from the trauma and lead a normal, dignified life. They are our true heroes as they have now become more mature, resilient and strong, and through their experiences understand different aspects of life.”
Jun Pablo of ISWAN / MPHPR Philippines, who has worked with the families of the Naham 3 hostages and supported them for years, said: “After a month or two we will be able to see the economic condition and how this condition affects the seafarer and how they manage to cope. So far, one of the seafarers has said he will not go anymore on board, but will stay in the province and look for alternative work. Another wants some time to rest at home, and says he will be willing to go back to sea in 2017. Another seafarer suffers from bad dreams and is sleeping badly. The emotional upheaval of getting home is a huge adjustment.”
Apinya Tajit works for the Apostleship of the Sea in Thailand, is a welfare responder for ISWAN / MPHRP and has assisted Caritas Cambodia with the welcome for the Cambodian hostages of the Naham 3. “I cannot say that everything is going to be easy for them from now on. For the men I am concerned about how they adjust to life after this nightmare, and for the families I am concerned about them getting their loved ones back with scars, feeling like strangers to each other, and different from when they left home. Eventually I hope that time and our programme can help to heal everything, and I am planning for their future support by ISWAN and Caritas.”
Capt Nguyen Viet Anh, a welfare responder for ISWAN / MPHRP, arranged the welcome for the Vietnamese hostages of Naham 3. “The families are deeply concerned about the present health situation of their loved ones. Obviously, the piracy survivors need rest and will need post-release assistance to face the trauma of the past.”
A article has been produced with more detail see http://bit.ly/Naham3_16