The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

  1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Somalia

WFP suspends humanitarian shipments

Map of Somalia
Les taux d’infection au VIH sont encore relativement bas dans la région (IRIN )

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) suspended on Monday all shipments of humanitarian assistance to Somalia following the hijacking of a WFP-chartered vessel carrying food aid for 28,000 tsunami survivors.

"The decision was taken because of the insecurity of Somali waters along the east coast," WFP said in a statement. "It will be reviewed depending on the release of the detained relief food, vessel and crew."

The MV Semlow was hijacked on 27 June between Haradheere and Hobyo, some 300 km northeast of the capital, Mogadishu.

WFP had chartered the ship from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, with a crew that included a Sri Lankan captain, a Tanzanian engineer and eight Kenyan crew members.

"If there is a quick, favourable solution, we hope there will be no major interruption of WFP operations in the country," WFP Somalia Country Director, Robert Hauser, said.

"The 10 crew members are reported to be in good health and we remain hopeful that the humanitarian cargo on the MV Semlow will be allowed to continue its journey to Bossaso in the northeast of the country unconditionally," he added. "But for now, the waters off the Somali coast present too great a threat to send further shipments."

WFP said a government delegation had travelled to Harardheere District to facilitate the release of the food, the vessel and the crew. The head of this mission, Hirsi Aden Roble, the Somali transitional vice-minister of ministry of marine transport, was joined other influential elders.

The vessel left Mombasa on 23 June destined for Bossaso in Puntland, carrying 850 tonnes of rice donated by Japan and Germany.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

Share this article
Join the discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.