270612. O.R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. A warm welcome by fiends and family following a couple arrival Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, they have been held captive since October last year. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Pretoria - Former hostage couple, Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz, say they are emotionally ready to face the five men who hijacked their yacht and hope that the encounter will help them with closure.

Speaking to the Daily News from Pretoria on Thursday, the Durban couple said they had been evaluated by a psychologist

before their trip to the Netherlands next month, where they will testify in an appeal hearing of the Somali pirates.

The pirates, part of a group that held them captive for 20 months, have been convicted and sentenced for their involvement in the hijacking.

Calitz said: “The [assessment] process went better than expected. We are ready to face them.”

The pirates were caught two weeks after the hijacking of the Choizil, by the Dutch navy in the Gulf of Aden, the BBC reported.

Three other Somalis captured at the same time were also convicted of piracy.

The sentences handed down to the five men ranged from four-and-a-half to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Choizil was seized off the south-eastern coast of Africa in October 2010. Pelizzari and Calitz were released in June this year.

The only other crew member, skipper Peter Eldridge, who refused to get off the vessel, was later rescued.

Calitz said seeing her captors would come close to giving her complete closure.

She said that she and Pelizzari had not received counselling after their ordeal, but were “overcoming our trauma in our own way”.

The couple will be leaving for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this weekend to assess the condition of their boat, which was their home before they were captured. - Daily News