Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DFA: PHL acting to free 7 Pinoys from pirates

Philippine officials are working to help secure the release of seven Filipino seafarers who have being held captive by Somali pirates since Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.

The DFA said the seven were aboard the German-owned cargo vessel MV EMS River that pirates hijacked last Monday. [See related story: Somali pirates seize ship with 7 Pinoys]

"The Philippine Foreign Liaison Officer to the Combined Maritime Command in Bahrain, Commander Gaudencio Collado, is now coordinating with naval authorities to resolve the case," the DFA said in an article posted on its website.

It said the MV EMS River was seized approximately 175 nautical miles northeast of the port of Salalah in Oman.

The ship was en route to San Nicolas, Greece, from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates at the time of the attack.

The cargo ship has a crew of seven Filipinos and one Romanian, an Associated Press report said.

According to the DFA, its Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) had learned that the ship's manning agency in Manila already informed the families of the seafarers about the incident.

The DFA said there are 107 Filipino seafarers aboard nine vessels held captive by pirates, adding that the OUMWA continues to coordinate closely with the concerned Philippine embassies, the vessels' principals and the local manning agencies for the early and safe release of the seafarers.

Of the estimated 1,200,000 seafarers worldwide, more than 300,000 are Filipinos, according to the Apostleship of the Sea, a UK-based advocacy group. — LBG, GMANews.TV

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