Monday, January 3, 2011

2 Pinoy seafarers onboard pirate-seized MV Blida — DFA

Two Filipino seafarers were among the crew of the Algerian-flagged cargo vessel seized by Somali pirates on Saturday, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA, however, did not identify the two Filipino seamen who were among the 27 crew members of the Greek-owned MV Blida, but said their families have already been informed of the incident.

The incident has brought to 109 the number of Filipino seafarers on board 10 vessels captive by pirates.

In a report to the DFA, Philippine Naval Liaison in the Combined Marine Forces Captain Gaudencio C. Collado Jr. said that MV Blida was seized at approximately 150 nautical miles southeast of the port of Salalah in Oman while en route to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. 

According to the information given by the vessel’s local manning agency in Manila to the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), the vessel was manned by 27 seafarers, two of which were Filipinos. 

The bulk carrier, which was carrying a cargo of clinker, also had Ukrainian and Algerian crew when it was seized.

“The DFA-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," the DFA said in a statement.

Of 1.2 million estimated seafarers worldwide, more than 300,000 are Filipinos, the Apostleship of the Sea, a United Kingdom-based advocacy group, said. — Jerrie M. Abella/DM/KBK, GMANews.TV

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