Bodies of slain seamen arrive


02:34 AM April 27th, 2012

By: Tina G. Santos, April 27th, 2012 02:34 AM

The bodies of the two Filipino seamen who died during an Iranian Navy operation for the rescue of the crew of a hijacked ship off the southwestern coast of India last month finally arrived home Thursday.

The remains of Zhron Monzon and Stephen Barbarona arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) aboard a Qatar Airways flight around 8:30 a.m.

They were among the 10 Filipinos on the 23-member crew of the Iranian-owned, Cyprus-flagged bulk carrier Eglantine, which Somali pirates seized on March 26.

Monzon and Barbarona died at the height of the rescue mission mounted by the Iranian Navy on April 2. The rescue operation lasted two days and ended with the arrest of 12 pirates.

Monzon, 33, a native of Mauban, Quezon, was hit in the head by a bullet fired by the retreating pirates.

Barbarona, 33, of Antequera, Bohol, suffocated in heavy smoke in the vessel’s burning engine room, where he hid during the gun battle.

The eight Filipino survivors, who returned home earlier this month, said the pirates bound the crew members and used them as human shields during the fire fight with the Iranian commandos.

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