THE CHAIN LOCKER
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Abandoned ICEBERG 1 - click photo for gCaptain story
I was reading the KENNEBEC CAPTAIN blog last night, and was struck with something I already knew, but had carelessly allowed to drop out of my consciousness: the shameful fate of the crew of ICEBERG 1. These longest-held pirate captives marked their 2-year anniversary over a month ago. 

There are 23 of them now, although there had been 24 - one committed suicide in October 2010. They are being held in cramped, unhealthy conditions aboard ship, have been tortured by some accounts, and are being provided little food and unclean water. Reportedly (and understandably) several are suffering from acute psychological issues. 

A good summary of their situation appeared a month ago in the very good gCaptain blog on the second anniversary of their captivity. As the IBN video above reports, almost nothing is being done for the men or their families. The company that had owned the ship, Azal Shipping and Cargo, has gone out of business, abandoning the ship and crew to their fate. 

A story on IBN Live marked the anniversary of their captivity, but didn't suggest any action for concerned parties to take. And apparently the national governments of the various crewmembers - they are from Yemen, India, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan & Philippines - have done little or nothing.

The Kennebec Captain blog post expressed hope that other maritime blogs would take up the story and bring it to wider attention. This justly stung me when I read it, because that's exactly what I've failed to do, although I have been aware of the situation. It's so easy to ignore someone else in trouble - a little righteous indignation, but then you move on to the next item of interest. I checked on Twitter, and found one post! But their suffering and despair, unlike the world's attention, goes on.

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So I'd like to state that I'm going to do what I can to bring this story to people's attention. I can tweet about it, mention and link to it in maritime forums, and link to stories about the situation here on the blog. Will you also do what you're able to do? Imagine yourself in their situation. Perhaps we can make enough noise to mitigate their conditions and let them know that they're not forgotten.

It's criminal that these men have fallen through the cracks and have been left to rot, simply because the usual avenue to freedom - ransom paid by their employer - is no longer available. Please take action! And let the rest of us know what you're doing - it will encourage and inspire other avenues of action. God bless these poor men!