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Abduction of 20 Filipino Seafarers

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:00 Madel R. Sabater
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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Tuesday confirmed that 20 Filipino seafarers had been abducted by Somali pirates off the coast of Kenya, saying that there are now 101 Filipino seafarers being held captive by Somali pirates.

The DFA said its Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (OUMWA) is already coordinating with the local manning agency of the vessel on the efforts to secure the safe and early release of the seafarers.

“DFA-OUMWA also instructed the Philippine Embassies in Nairobi and Manama to monitor the situation and coordinate with the Combined Task Force based in Manama, as well as the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo to keep track of the negotiations being undertaken by the vessel’s principal, Fair Field Shipping Corp.,” the DFA said.

According to the DFA, the 20 Filipino seafarers were abducted on October 10 off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya, onboard cargo ship MV Izumi, a Panamanian-flagged merchant vessel owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd.

MV Izumi was on its way to Japan when the hijacking occurred.

The DFA said the European Union (EU) naval force in the region immediately dispatched a Danish and French warship to track the MV Izumi after receiving a distress call from the hijacked vessel.

There are now 101 Filipino seamen onboard seven vessels currently in the hands of Somali pirates.

Aside from the 20 Filipino seafarers onboard MV Izumi, there are 19 Filipino seamen onboard MV Eleni P, which was hijacked on May 12; 21 onboard MV Voc Daisy, captured on April 21; 19 Filipinos onboard MV Samho Dream, captured on April 4; one Filipino onboard MV Iceberg I hijacked on March 30; three Filipinos onboard Taiwanese fishing vessel FV Tai Yuan 227, which was captured on May 6; and 18 onboard MT Motivator captured on July 4.

The number of Filipinos seized by Somali pirates had already gone down to one-digit figures after the successive release in late 2009 and early 2010, said to be the lowest in recent years. However, it started to increase in April this year.

Filipino seafarers compose 30 percent of the 1.5 million seafarers around the world. The United Nations (UN) International Maritime Organization (IMO) has dedicated this year to the world’s seafarers for their “exceptional role and contribution” in the maritime industry.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 October 2010 09:06

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