14 Filipino crewmen of Greek-owned grains ship released by Somali pirates

December 19, 2009 11:21 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Dec. 19 — Somali pirates released on Friday morning (Manila time) the Greek-owned grains ship, “M/V Delvina,” along with 14 Filipino crew members aboard, it was reported by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The “M/V Delvina” was seized on November 5 off the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean

The Filipinos were not named by the DFA but they are reportedly “safe and in good health” and are now headed for its scheduled destination at the port city of Mombasa in Kenya.

DFA said their release brought down to 53 the number of Filipino seafarers seized from four separate vessels at various times off the coast of Somalia.

DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said they “continue to coordinate and meet with concerned manning agencies and their shipping principals on the release and repatriation of the seafarers still being held hostage.”

In announcing their release, DFA said “the Philippine government continues to step up preventive and remedial efforts to address the continued increase in the number of piracy incidents and hostage-taking involving Filipino crew seafarers off the coast of Somalia.”

DOLE intends to require Filipino seafarers to undergo anti-piracy training to better prepare them for eventualities such as high seas piracy.

DOLE and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) have also issued safety and security directives to manning agencies of ships plying the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean.

Other measures that government agencies are undertaking for the welfare of the seafarers is bringing “the matter of the menace of piracy to the attention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations, and other international fora,” DFA added.

DFA said it supports all efforts by the international community, whether at the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the IMO in London to put an end to the problem of piracy. (PNA)

scs/GJB

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