14 Filipino seamen in hijacked tanker safe
Fourteen Filipino seafarers were among those held by armed men who hijacked a Cyprus-flagged and Norwegian-managed tanker the other day in Lomé, Togo, in West Africa.
But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday that the ship’s local recruitment agency reported the crew is safe and their families have been informed about the hijacking.
Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, said the ship MT Mattheos I had a 23-member crew. At least 14 crew members are Filipinos. Five Spaniards and two Ukrainians are also aboard.
Hernandez said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario had instructed the Philippine Embassy in Abuja to make representations with the Nigerian authorities for the safe rescue of the Filipino seafarers.
The country’s embassy in Oslo was also instructed to coordinate with the vessel’s principal in Norway to ensure that negotiations for the release of the Filipino seafarers are being undertaken.
He said the DFA was closely coordinating with the embassies and the local manning agency of the vessel for any further developments.
The last incident of hijacking in West Africa by Nigerian pirates was in July 2011 involving 20 Filipino seafarers of MT Anema E Core, but they were eventually released after four days of captivity.
Of the 104 Filipinos who have been kidnapped off the coast of West Africa since February 2006, 88 have been released, two remain missing while 14 are still held captive. With AP report
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