The Casas family posed for a photo before Joven (Bob) Casas left to work on the MV Irene. From left to right: Joven (Bobby), Venus, Gemma & Dave with parents in front.

September 14, 2009

Today the Filipino crew of the MV Irene were released by their Somali pirate captors five long months after they were taken hostage. The BBCreports:
Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned ship hijacked five months ago and freed its 21 Filipino crew members, officials and pirates have said.
"The MV Irene is free. All 21 crew are safe and sound," maritime official Andrew Mwangura told AFP news agency.
Reuters news agency cited a pirate as saying the hijackers acted after receiving a ransom of $2m (£1.2m).
No other news has been reported in the media. As reported on this site and the Facebook page, Liberate Pirate Hostages, Joven (Bob) Casas, brother of our friend Marianas Variety reporter Gemma Casas was among the hostages who have been held since April 13, 2009.

Gemma wrote on Facebook:
"They are still in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, for medical reasons. They are expected to return home to Manila, the Philippines tomorrow or so. Thank you for supporting the online petition Free Joven "Bob" Casas and the MV Irene Crew."
This weekend the online petition reached 1,000 signatures.

We are so happy that Joven and the crew have been freed and send our best wishes to Gemma and her family and the other crew members and their families!

Joven Casas with his wife and son.


Anonymous said...

Paying ransom money was a very bad emboldens hijackers.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Gemma, this is very great news!

Saipan Writer said...

I'm glad they were released, but I, too, think it was wrong to pay the ransom money.

I might feel differently if it were my family, but I hope I would understand the need for refusing ransom demands.

I agree with Anon at 3:10 PM--this just means we'll see more pirating and hijackings at sea.

the teacher said...

Congrats Gemma, your campaign highlighted the issue and helped your brother.

Wendy said...

Maybe governments paying a ransom is bad, but for a shipping company to pay to release employees and their property may be necessary until the international community unites to stop the piracy on the seas.

This is not a new problem, but it is a problem that must be addressed by the international community. There are still other captives on other ships waiting to be released right now!

I am so grateful that Gemma's brother has been released. What a terrible ordeal for the crew members and their families. (And for the shipping company.)

What is a solution to end this piracy? A united naval effort in the area?

captain said...

I personally am glad these people were released hope fully the other ships will also be released soon, although this petition drive was good for moral, it did nothing to bring a release of the hostages.

It was/is all about money.
It may come a time when there will have to be a stand taken and all concerned will refuse to pay ransoms. Or the United Nations will try and stop the paying of ransoms.

I would not want to be the one held at that time for ransom, but it may be the only way to curtail this piracy along with, as stated, an international effort to combat it. But that seems unlikely as it is now, there does not seem to be any uniformity of "rules of engagement" involving the different nations that patrol that area now.

One way may be to have certain days of the week, or month for all of the ships to group up and pass in convoy style with warship escorts. This will delay cargo but might in the long run prove to be safer and cheaper for vessel and crews. Just a thought, with no research into the matter.