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Seafarers, State in bid to rescue 15 Kenyans from Somalia vessel

Sophie Njoka and Salma Chilembi @PeopledailyKe

A seafarers lobby is working with the government to rescue 15 Kenyan fishermen held against their will and forced to work without pay in a Somalia vessel.

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) official Betty Makena said the Kenyans had been hired in April to work in the vessel —FV Marwan 1—by an unlicenced Mombasa firm identified as Seaport Operations Limited.

She said the lobby and the government had sought the help of Eritrea government, whose waters the vessel is said to be sailing.

“The fishermen have cried to us for help. They want to return home,” said Makena. She said the captives were living in deplorable conditions at gunpoint, with some in need of medical attention.

“They were flown to Somalia and they met two other Kenyans there in April this year. They sleep in the open. They sent a distress call,” she said.

Makena said the firm that recruited the 15 has no known office and its officials have declined to meet them.

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