MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino seafarer was rescued by authorities after being held captive by Somali pirates for nearly three years, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.
“We received confirmation from the local manning agency that a Filipino seafarer on board MV Iceberg 1 was rescued on December 23 together with other crew members from the hands of the Somali pirates after 32 months in captivity,” Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, said in a text message.
In his text message, Hernandez noted that the Filipino seaman was being taken care of by United Nations (UN) forces in Garowe, Somalia. He did not name the seaman.
“His family has already been informed by the manning agency of this development and his repatriation is now being arranged,” Hernandez said.
An earlier report by Associated Press said that the Filipino was one of 22 seafarers safely rescued when authorities from Somalia’s Putland region raided the Panama-flagged MV Iceberg 1 on Dec.10.
The report noted that aside from the Filipino, the rescued crewmen included eight Yemenis, five Indians, two Pakistanis, four Ghanaians, and two Sudanese. It said the seafarers were held hostage for two years and nine months, and the ship was hijacked on March 29, 2010.
The report quoted Alan Cole, the coordinator of the United Nations antipiracy program, as saying that the MV Iceberg 1 had been one of the longest held ships by Somali pirates.
Close to 120 seafarers are still held by Somali pirates, though that number is considerably down from the height of the piracy crisis two years ago, when more than 600 hostages were held at once, the AP said.