Somali pirates free 14 Filipino seamen

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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Tuesday that 14 Filipino seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates in an oil tanker have been released after 10 months of detention.

“The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya reported to the DFA that Somali pirates released MT Smyrni, a Greek-owned and Liberian-flagged oil tanker, and its 26 member crew which includes 14 Filipinos,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters.

“The vessel and its crew were released yesterday after being detained for 10 months, all the crew members are in good physical condition,” he said.

The vessel was hijacked by heavily armed Somali Pirates back in May 10, 2012 while it was carrying a cargo of 135,000 metric tons of crude oil in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.

Hernandez said that the vessel and its crew were on its way to the port of Salalah, Oman where Philippine Embassy officials there will meet them and have them undergo medical checkups.

“The next of kin of the Filipino crew members have already been informed of their release and the Philippine embassy in Muscat, Oman will facilitate their immediate repatriation,” Hernandez said.

Somali pirates however were still holding captive nine Filipino seafarers from two ships, he said.

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