Somali pirates abduct Filipino, Algerian, Ukrainian crewmen near port of Oman

10:09, January 03, 2011      

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An unidentified number of Filipino crewmen of an Algerian bulk carrier were seized by ransom-seeking Somali pirates on Saturday near the port of Oman, said European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Sunday.

The MV Blida was on its way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from Salalah in Oman at the time of the attack, said the EU force on its official website, adding "MV Blida was pirated at approximately 150 nautical miles southeast of the port of Oman on Saturday afternoon."

No further details of the attack were immediately available, but the EUNAVFOR said the vessel has a crew of 27, comprising of Algerians, Ukranians and Filipinos.

To date, some 107 Filipino seamen remain in the hands of Somali pirates on board nine vessels, statistics showed.

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.

In the past, millions of dollars worth of ransom were believed to have been paid by ship owners to Somali pirates in exchange for the release of abducted sailors and hijacked vessels.

Filipino seafarers account for almost 30 percent of the global seaborne manpower or about 350,000 sailors, manning oil tankers, luxury liners, and passenger vessels worldwide, exposing them to piracy attacks.

Despite the risks, private shipping companies still see the seas surrounding the Horn of Africa as a cost-effective means for moving goods with as many as 20,000 ships traveling these waters annually.

Source: Xinhua
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