Freed Filipino sailors in Somalia will be repatriated to PHL soon

May 2, 2013 11:54 pm 

MANILA, May 2 -– The four Filipino sailors who were freed on Tuesday by their Somali captors will be repatriated to the Philippines soon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the four, along with two Danish sailors, were brought to a United States base in Djibouti, Africa while arrangements for their repatriation to their home countries are being processed.

“They underwent a check up and were found to be in good physical condition,” Hernandez said, adding the crewmen of the MV Leopard have already contacted their families in the Philippines.

The Filipinos, along with two other Danish sailors, were seized from their vessel by ransom-seeking Somali pirates on Jan. 12, 2011 off the coast of Yemen.

The release of the Filipinos brings down to five the total number of Philippine nationals still being held by pirates in Somalia, Hernandez said.

The Philippines is one of the world’s largest providers of shipping manpower in the world.

A bulk of Filipino seamen or more than 20 percent of the world’s 1.2 million sailors are manning oil tankers, luxury liners, and passenger vessels worldwide, exposing them to piracy attacks.

Piracy and ransom kidnappings of Filipino sailors by Somali pirates in the dangerous Somali waters, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, have long been a problem for the Philippine government as they lack the capacity to monitor their movements when at sea. (PNA)

FFC/MDC/UTB

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