Danish hostages freed after more than two years in captivity

Søren Lyngbjørn, Eddy Lopez and their four Filipino colleagues released by Somali pirates after 40 million kroner ransom is paid

Two Danish seamen who have been held captive for over two years were freed today, the Foreign Ministry has confirmed. 

 

The two Danes, Søren Lyngbjørn and Eddy Lopez, were released by the Somali pirates who have held them since January 2011. Also released were four Filipinos. The pirates were paid a ransom that TV2 News reports was around 40 million kroner. 

 

Shipcraft, the shipping company that employed Lyngbjørn and Lopez, confirmed that they had paid “considerably more” than what had been paid in other kidnapping situations, but would not confirm the ransom amount.

 

According to TV2, the first part of the ransom sum was paid last Thursday and the second was paid earlier today via a money drop. 

 

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt expressed joy about the release on Facebook.

 

"It is terrific news that doesn't just relieve my heart, but likely relieves the hearts of all of Denmark," the PM wrote. "I would like to send a warm greeting to the seamen and their family. They have been through a terrible ordeal. Now they are in safety and can begin their way back to a normal life."

 

Lyngbjørn and Lopez were working for the shipping company Shipcraft aboard the MV Leopard when Somali pirates hijacked the ship in the Indian Ocean on 12 January 2011. They were shortly thereafter transferred to land and held in an unknown location in Somalia. Lyngbjørn is reported as being in very poor health and unable to walk. 

 

In their first media interview since being freed, Lopez spoke to TV2 News and said that they were obviously happy that their long ordeal was over. 

 

"It feels great. Now that we can see the end to this whole thing, we are of course very happy," Lopez said. "It was 27 and a half months, and we were tortured, we were beaten and we did not have enough food. We have been sick, but now I have faith."

 

Lopez said that Lyngbjørn was suffering from some sort of nerve infection and needed to go immediately to a hospital upon returning to Denmark.

 

Asked what he most looked forward to, Lopez said: "To see my family. To see my wife and my children."





  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.