Pirates hostage 23 Pinoy sailors in Nigeria-A A +A
Thursday, February 7, 2013
MANILA – A Filipino crewmember of a chemical tanker was fatally shot, while 23 other Filipinos were held hostage, after a pirate attack on the Marshall-flagged vessel in Nigeria, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Filipino, whose identity he declined to disclose, didn’t make to the hospital alive after being shot by a pirate on board the vessel Pyxis Delta.
“The family of the fatality has already been informed of this sad development,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez added that some 23 Filipino seafarers remain in the hands of ransom-seeking pirates in Somalia.
The identities of the 23 Filipino captives are not yet available as of this posting Wednesday night.
He said the DFA is still determining the exact details of the incident.
“This information is still preliminary and we are hoping to get more information from the manning agency today or tomorrow,” he said.
The Pyxis Delta, hijacked on February 4, had eight other Filipino crew members. They are all safe on board the ship which is anchored off the coast of Nigeria, Hernandez said.
The global shipping industry, which carries 80 percent of international trade, employs about 1.2 million seafarers, the bulk of whom come from the Philippines.
Piracy and ransom kidnappings of Filipino sailors have long been a problem for the Philippine government as it lacks the capacity to monitor their movements when at sea.
Somali authorities are likewise powerless over these groups since there is no existing central government in the African state.
Since the United Nation withdrew in Somalia in March 1995 without restoring a functioning government, little progress has been made.
As a policy, the Philippine government does not negotiate nor pay ransom to kidnappers, but gives ship owners the free hand in negotiating for the release of abducted Filipino sailors.
The DFA assured the government is working continuously with ship owners and operators to secure the freedom of the Filipinos. (PNA/Sunnex/AP)