Somali pirates free 24 Filipino seafarers
MANILA, Philippines—Somali pirates have freed a Panama-flagged bulk cargo vessel with 24 Filipinos on board, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
Liberian-owned MV Renuar, seized on December 11 about 1,500 nautical miles east of lawless Somalia, was released Saturday and now sailing to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates with its 24 all-Filipino crew on board, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs said in a statement.
Captain Gaudencio Collado, Philippine military’s liaison officer to the multinational anti-piracy coalition in the Gulf of Aden, and the vessel’s local manning agency said the Filipinos “are all in good condition.”
Somalia has not had an effective government for 19 years, allowing piracy to flourish off its coast. To date, there are 79 Filipino seafarers on board nine vessels still being held the pirates.
Manila has taken steps “to minimize the exposure of Filipino seafarers to piracy attacks, including making arrangements with ship principals and manning agencies for vessels to travel along a safety corridor and to adopt best management practices as deterrence to piracy attacks,” the DFA said.
At the same time, the Philippine government has taken up the issue of maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean before the United Nations and other international organizations. The Philippines is a member of the intergovernmental Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.