July 12, 2009
Somali pirates hold Turkish woman mariner hostage
Aysun Akbay, the 24 year old fourth officer of the Turkish-flag Horizon 1, has become the first woman professional mariner to be held hostage by Somali pirates.
Ms. Akbay was making what her parents say was her first voyage in distant waters when the Horizon-1 was seized July 8.
She is one of five women to graduate in 2008 from the deck department of Karadeniz Technical University's maritime training program.
Her parents have asked the Turkish authorities to intervene to secure her release. Their attempts to contact her on board via telephone have been unsuccessful. Turkish reports say they were able only to speak with pirates and got no information because of language difficulties.