MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino released by Somali pirates along with 21 other foreign sailors will be home soon as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has started arrangements for his flight back home.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, the DFA spokesperson, said the DFA has confirmed the release of the Filipino and other crew members of Panama-flagged MV Iceberg, whose 32-month captivity in the hands of Somali pirates was known to be one of the longest in the shipping industry.
“We received confirmation from the local manning agency that a Filipino seafarer on board MV Iceberg 1 was rescued on Dec. 23 together with other crew members from the hands of the Somali pairates after 32 months of captivity,” said Hernandez in a text message.
The Filipino, whose name has been withheld, was under the care of United Nations forces in Garowe, Somalia, as of Tuesday, the DFA said.
“His family has already been informed by the manning agency of this development. His repatriation is now being arranged,” said Hernandez.
The Filipino was among sailors from India, Yemen, Sudan, Ghana and Pakistan who were taken captive aboard their cargo vessel off the seaport city of Aden in Yemen in March 2010, a Reuters report said.
Pirates gave them up following a siege by maritime police that started on Dec. 10. Two crew members earlier died in captivity.
Ship hijacks are commonplace in the Indian Ocean, with Filipino seafarers among the frequent victims.