Mombasa, Kenya, April 15, 2009
—International aid agency World Vision yesterday received word from its freight forwarder, Fettig & Donalty
, that another U.S. flagship, the Liberty Sun, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The Liberty Sun was carrying 2,200 metric tons of food, donated by the U.S.-government, for use in one of World Vision’s development programs in Rwanda
“This food is critical to our efforts in Rwanda,” said World Vision spokesperson Amy Parodi. “Farmers as well as malnourished children and people living with AIDS all depend on this product. It’s vital that we’re able to deliver this food as quickly as possible”
According to Fettig & Donalty, the pirates fired several rounds of small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades onto the vessel, causing some damage to the ship’s bulkhead. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship was injured. In addition, the pirates were not able to board the vessel and the ship was able to continue, under naval escort, to the port of Mombasa, Kenya.
“We’re relieved that no one was hurt in this attack and that the ship was able to continue to its destination,” said Parodi. “Safety in this area is a growing concern and we’re hopeful that these attacks will stop soon.”
This is the second attack this week on a ship carrying food aid for World Vision’s programs in east Africa. The Maersk Alabama, which was attacked last week, carried 320 metric tons of vegetable oil, also for World Vision’s program in Rwanda.
Through the $33 million, five-year program, World Vision is providing agricultural training and infrastructure development for Rwandan farmers as well as food for malnourished children and people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Liberty Sun is scheduled to arrive in Mombasa tomorrow morning local time. While unloading the ship may be delayed for investigation of the attack, World Vision is likely to have more information before the end of the week.
The Maersk Alabama has been unloaded and the food on that ship will be on its way to Rwanda this week.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. We serve the world’s poor regardless of a person’s religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press