Monday, January 17, 2011

DFA: 18 released Pinoy seafarers heading for Oman

The 18 Filipino seafarers released from captivity by pirates who attacked their chemical tanker are now on their way to Oman.

"The Filipino crew were able to call their families at the time of their release. They are currently sailing towards Salalah, Oman," the Department of Foreign Affairs said on itswebsite.

Last weekend, pirates released the 18 Filipino seafarers aboard the “MT Motivator," a Marshall Island-flagged chemical tanker.

Pirates hijacked the MT Motivator last July 4 in the Southern Red Sea, between the Arabian Peninsula and Horn of Africa.

Meanwhile, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) is coordinating with the local manning agency of the vessel for the immediate repatriation of the Filipino crew.

It said that as of present, at least 95 Filipino seafarers on board 10 vessels being held captive by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

However, it did not say if this figure included the 24 seafarers whose ship was attacked by pirates last weekend.

Still, the DFA-OUMWA said it 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 other Filipino seafarers.

3 Pinoy crew of MT Dominia

Meanwhile, the DFA said three Filipino crew of Italian-flagged chemical-oil products tanker MT Dominia were safely returned to the vessel last January 12 after being forced to accompany the attackers back to shore in one of the vessel’s lifeboats.

It cited a statement by Millenia Maritime Inc.., operators and managers of MT Dominia, that the three Filipino seafarers are now safe and well on board the vessel.

Armed men attacked the MT Dominia off Lagos, Nigeria in the early morning hours of January 11.

The DFA said the vessel was carrying a cargo of unleaded gasoline and was en route to Lagos, Nigeria from Ghent, Belgium at the time of the incident.

"According to the same report, the vessel’s cash and a number of personal items were stolen but no severe damage was done to the vessel," the DFA said in a statement.

It added all 22 crew members, including three Italians and 19 Filipinos, are now on board the vessel.

The DFA said OUMWA, through the Embassy, coordinated with the manning agency to ensure the safety and well being of the seafarers.

Also, the DFA-OUMWA instructed the Embassy to closely monitor the safe travel of the vessel to its port of destination. — RSJ, GMANews.TV

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