No seafarer from Davao in Indian Ocean hijacking

THE Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa)-Davao said not a single seafarer from Davao Region is among the Filipino crew who boarded the MV Nahan 3 vessel that had been hijacked four years ago.

Owwa-Davao director Eduardo Bellido, in a phone interview, said they are thankful that no one from the region was among the victims of the March 26, 2012 Indian Ocean hijacking incident.

Bellido said there were five Filipinos onboard the vessel who have suffered from the hands of the Somali oppressors who hijacked the MV Nahan 3.

Bellido added that the victims just returned home last month.

Owwa officer-in-charge Carmelina Velasquez, in a statement, identified the five victims as Arnel Pregillana Balbero, Elmer Salvador Balbero, Ferdinand Jacinto Dalit, Akes Edwas Jr. and Antonio Libres Jr.

Velasquez said the five Filipino members of the crew returned to the Philippines via Emirates EK-332 on October 28 around 4:30 p.m.

She added that they were assisted by the Owwa Repatriation Team.

There were 29 members of the crew who were victims of the the Somali pirates.

They were released after the Oceans Beyond Piracy, project of One Earth Foundation, headed a negotiation.

Aside from airport assistance and accommodation, OWWA’s support to the repatriated Filipino seafarers will include the provision of transportation fares to their respective hometowns where they will also be recommended to undergo psycho-social counseling as part of their "healing process."

“We imagine the nightmare that our ‘kababayans’ went through all those times, so much so that we wish that they, together with their families, will be able to adjust and be back to their normal lives. We are thankful that they at last, are able to come home safely,” OIC Velasquez said.

OIC Velasquez added that the advise on the arrival of the Filipino seamen came from the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Affairs’ Officer-in-Charge Reynaldo Catapang.

Velasquez said the release of the 26-man crew was through the auspices of Oceans Beyond Piracy, a project of One Earth Foundation, which spearheaded the negotiation.

The crew was received by Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Jesus Yabes, along with Philippine Embassy in Nairobi Charge d’ Affaires Uriel Galibay and other DFA officials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Negotiations for the release of the seafarers started immediately after their captivity in 2012. (PR)
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