BOSSASO / SEAPORT

13-Jul-2005
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) demanded on Tuesday that the pirates who commandeered a commercial vessel chartered to transport food aid to 28,000 tsunami survivors in Somalia release the ship, its cargo and crew within 48 hours. UNTV
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STORY: BOSSASO / SEAPORT

TRT: 1.04

SOURCE: UNTV

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: CH 1 NATS
CH 2 NATS

DATELINE: JUNE 2005, BOSSASO, SOMALIA
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, vessel in the Gulf of Aden
2. Wide shot, Bossaso
3. Med shot, street scene in Bossaso
4. Various shots, Bossaso Sea Port
STORYLINE
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) demanded on Tuesday that the pirates who commandeered a commercial vessel chartered to transport food aid to 28,000 tsunami survivors in Somalia release the ship, its cargo and crew within 48 hours.

According to WFP's country director for Somalia, Robert Hauser, should they fail to release the vessel within this period, WFP would cease all its operations around southern Mudug, where 34,000 people depend on food aid.

The MV Semlow was hijacked on 27 June between Haradheere and Hobyo, some 300 km northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, on its way to the Gulf of Aden port of Bossaso. It was carrying 850 tonnes of rice for distribution to the survivors of last December's Indian Ocean tsunami.

Hauser appealed to President Abdullahi Yusuf and the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) to redouble its efforts to get the ship released. WFP on 4 July suspended shipments of humanitarian assistance to Somalia following the hijacking.

Negotiations for the release of the ship were continuing between officials from the TFG and the hijackers, but Hauser said not much progress had been made. He accused the TFG of doing little to resolve the crisis.

Hauser said the sea had become turbulent and there was a real risk of the vessel being tossed to the shore by the waves; the crew also risked running out of fresh water and food.

The vessel set sail from the Kenyan port of Mombasa on 23 June under a Sri Lankan captain and a crew that included a Tanzanian engineer and eight Kenyans.
The Indian Ocean tsunami devastated large swathes of northeastern Somalia's coastline, particularly a stretch of about 650 km between Hafun and Garacad in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.

Relief sources said around 150 people died when the tsunami slammed into the coastline, leaving 54,000 in need of emergency assistance.
Hauser said WFP had just 4,000 tonnes of food stocks remaining in Somalia, which would run out in two weeks if the hijacked replenishments did not reach the area.

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