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Friday, July 19, 2024

11 Pinoy seamen abducted by pirates in Togo, W. Africa

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The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday disclosed that two more Filipino sailors were abducted by pirates in West Africa.

The DFA said the latest incident brings to 11 the total number of Filipinos being held in West Africa.

Last week, nine Filipino seafarers were kidnapped in neighboring African state of Benin.

“The Philippine government is actively tracking the development of the case with the embassy in Abuja continuing its coordination with relevant authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino seafarers,” the DFA said in a statement.

Foreign Affairs officials are also coordinating with the seamen's manning agency and their immediate family for updates on the case.

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

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.

As this developed, Malacañang expressed concern over the series of kidnapping incidents.

“We are concerned about the kidnapping,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

The unidentified Filipinos, along with a Greek and a Georgian, were brought by their abductors on board a Greek oil tanker named Elka Aristotle, 11 miles from the deep sea shipping port of Lome, according to reports.

Armed guards climbed aboard the Greek tanker and tried to fend off the pirates but one of the guards was wounded.

Last Saturday, a similar abduction took place when pirates boarded the Norwegian-flagged M/V Bonita and abducted nine of its Filipino crew members.

The government is actively tackling the development of the case with the embassy in Abuja, Nigeria continuing its coordination with relevant authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino seafarers, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The DFA also said that it maintains “close contact” with the seafarers’ manning agency and will provide updates as necessary.

About a 10th of the Philippines’ population live and work abroad, the bulk of whom are seafarers, laborers and domestic helpers.

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