In the months that have passed since the abduction of the ship Savina Caylin on 8 February 2011 in the Indian Ocean, through its Crisis Unit the foreign ministry has been maintaining contact with the families of the kidnapped crew members and with the vessel’s owner, informing them of the intense and detailed diplomatic efforts under way for its release. These efforts are, nevertheless, taking place within a constantly changing scenario that includes dozens of other ships of all nationalities – including another Italian ship, the Rosalia D’Amato, which was taken in the same area in April 2011.
The Somali authorities are being pressured to do everything possible to resolve the situation. With a view to underscoring those efforts, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Alfredo Mantica travelled to Somalia to meet with President of the Somali government Sharmanke and President of Puntland, Farole. Secondly, considering the regional dimension of the problem, the Foreign Minister’s Special Representative for Humanitarian Emergencies, Margherita Boniver, was also sent to meet with the authorities of Tanzania and Djibouti, countries known for their efforts to combat piracy. Italian diplomats are also raising the issue and soliciting interest in the Savina Caylin case in all possible international occasions and encounters. On Minister Frattini’s initiative, Italy has also proposed that the theme of piracy be discussed in New York in a summit on Somalia to be jointly organized by Italy, the UK and Uganda in the margins of the next UN General Assembly in September.
The Italian government, through its Defence Ministry, has also sent military vessels involved in the Atalanta and Ocean Shield missions to monitor the ship and the gather information on the conditions of the crew.
In compliance with the explicit request of the families of the hostages, the Italian government has avoided any sort of military action that could endanger them.
In light of such efforts to resolve the situation, the Italian government cannot entertain the possibility of direct negotiations with the pirates, much less of paying a ransom for their release, which is expressly forbidden by law, beginning with the UN resolution ruling out any governmental act whatsoever that encourages piracy.
The foreign ministry fully understands the anguish of the families and assures that it is doing everything within its power to secure the release of the Savina Caylin, underscoring the importance that all those involved in the affair maintain the maximum reserve, which has proved an essential element in the resolution of previous cases of abduction.