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27 January 2017

Sailors’ Society combats maritime kidnapping

Sailors’ Society combats maritime kidnapping

Alliance member Sailors' Society has launched a crisis response network to help victims of trauma at sea in Asia. 

The international Christian maritime charity reports that kidnappings at sea have reached their highest levels in 10 years.

Stuart Rivers, CEO of Sailors' Society, said: "Victims of piracy and kidnappings are exposed to violence and terror, which can have a devastating impact on them and their families for years to come. 

"By coming alongside these survivors and their families, we can work with other agencies to help them come to terms with what has happened, give them financial, physical and psychological support to help them pick up the pieces of their lives."

Sailor's Society supports seafarers around the world and has trained all 20 of its chaplains across Asia in crisis response.

The charity is now offering a 24-hour support service to victims of piracy, kidnapping and natural disasters.

The International Chamber of Commerce's international maritime bureau (IMB) has released new statistics showing that kidnapping at sea trebled in 2016.

Pirates kidnapped 62 people for ransom in 15 separate incidents last year and on 9 January 2017 eight fishermen were killed by armed men who attacked their boat in a suspected pirate attack off the Southern Philippines.

Adi Manurung, 32, is one of 26 crew members from the Naham 3, who were released in October after being held hostage by Somali pirates for almost five years. 

During their years of captivity, Adi reported that he and his colleagues ate mice and wild cats:

Adi is now receiving help from Sailors' Society chaplains, including financial support, accompanying him on visits to the psychiatrist, providing counselling for him and his family to help him reintegrate into his community and taking him to church meetings.

Adi said he and his colleagues ate mice and wild cats during their captivity. He said: "I thought that I would die, there was no hope. 

"The thing that helped me survive was reading a Bible that I had brought with me. When one of the pirates found out that I had it, he threw it onto the floor and stamped on it.

"My dream for the future is to return to the job I always wanted as a seafarer so I can please my parents, who are aging and cannot work.

"I hated the pirates. But now I can forgive them. God is forgiving, and I should also be a forgiving person.

"Sailors' Society has provided me with guidance and counselled me to be patient and keep praying to God because they also believe that faith is very powerful."

As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, Sailors' Society is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact. Member organisations have an opportunity to speak to the media on behalf of our membership, as we direct media and information enquiries to member organisations best placed to deal with them. The Alliance also provides training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media. 

If you would like your organisation to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance, you can find out more here.

Image: CC Geoffrey Arduini