New batch of Filipino seafarers seized by Somali pirates

21:45, May 14, 2010      

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A Greek cargo vessel with 19 Filipino crew members was seized by ransom-seeking Somali pirates off the coast of Oman on May 12, a Philippine embassy report said on Friday.

The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned MV Eleni P was hijacked 250 nautical miles off the coast of Oman on its way to Kandla, India. Aside from the Filipinos, two Romanians and an Indian were also on board the ship.

"The European Union Naval Force said that the crew are safe and they are monitoring the situation," the embassy said.

There are now 66 Filipino seafarers on board six vessels being held captive by Somali pirates: three onboard the MV St. James Park, one onboard MV Iceberg 1, 19 onboard the MT Samho Dream, three on MV Tai Yuan 227, 21 on MV Voc Daisy, and 19 on board the MV Eleni P.

The DFA said it continues to coordinate closely with the local manning agencies for the early and safe release of all these seafarers.

The Philippines is the world's leading supplier of ship crew with over 350,000 sailors, or about a fifth of the world's seafarers, manning oil tankers, luxury liners, and passenger vessels worldwide, exposing them to piracy attacks.

As a policy, the Philippine government does not negotiate nor pay ransom to kidnappers, but gives ship owners the free hand in negotiating for the release of abducted Filipino sailors.



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