Kidnapped yachtsman back home

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pretoria - The South African yachtsman, who was rescued from a hostage drama involving Somali pirates, is back in the country.

International Relations spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed on Wednesday that the man, who has been identified as Peter Eldridge, was saved by European Union naval forces. His yacht was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia over the weekend.

When the alleged pirates attacked, the man reportedly refused to get off while another two people who were on the yacht with him were taken hostage.

Molobi said his department was working around the clock to secure the safety of the other two. "Sustained efforts to attain the release of two other South African nationals are continuing," he added.

Meanwhile, the UN has called for more international efforts in combating piracy.

Lynn Pascoe, the UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council on Tuesday that warships alone would not solve the problem.

"We need to continue to fight this battle in the broadest manner, focusing simultaneously on deterrence, security and the rule of law, as well providing economic alternatives for Somali youth."

Pirates have kidnapped almost 100 new crew and passengers from ships in less than a month and there are now at least 438 seafarers and 20 ships held by bandits, according to latest International Maritime Organisation figures.

Pascoe called for the immediate release of all individuals still in the hands of Somali pirates.

He also said that piracy and robbery off the coast of Somalia needs to be made costly by addressing impunity and building the capacity of the Transitional Federal Government to expand its authority and deal with law and order.

"Piracy is a menace that is outpacing efforts by the international community to stem it out," Pascoe said.