Two Filipino seafarers of hijacked MV Eglantine

Vessel- MV Eglantine.jpgTwo Filipino seafarers of hijacked MV Eglantine were killed during a rescue operation staged by Iranian Navy last April 2, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

The DFA withheld the identity of the victims who were among the 10 Filipino crew members of MV Eglantine, a Cypriot flagged and Iranian owned bulk carrier, that was hijacked in March 26 by Somali pirates off the southwestern coast of India.

"During the rescue mission, two Filipino seamen died," DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.

He said one of the Filipino seamen died of a gunshot wound in the head while another died of suffocation at the engine room where he sought refuge during the operation.

Hernandez said that the Filipino seafarers confirmed the cause of death of their two compatriots.

Citing a report by the Philippine Embassy in Tehran, Hernandez added that "the Filipinos further said that when the pirates knew that the navy commandoes were about to stage their rescue operation, the crewmen were bound behind their backs and used as shields as they exchanged fire with the rescuers."

The families of the crewmen have already been informed of the sad development.

The DFA received last Wednesday a report from the manning agency that MV Eglantine was hijacked by Solami pirates last March 26 off the southwestern coast of India (1,000 nautical miles East from the Gulf of Aden). It has 23 crewmembers of mixed nationalities, 10 of whom are Filipinos.

Chargé d' Affaires Mariano Dumia of the Philippine Embassy in Tehran welcomed on Sunday the eight surviving Filipino crew members of MV Eglantine who disembarked from their ship in Bandar Abbas, Iran.

The DFA said the Filipino seamen were freed from their Somali pirates captors after a "successful" rescue operation which led to the capture of 12 pirates who boarded the vessel but resulted in the death of two Filipino seafarers.

Kish Shipping Lines Managing Director in Bandar Abbas assured the Embassy that his company will provide sufficient financial compensation to the families of the deceased and to facilitate their immediate repatriation.

The vessel's principal, KISH Shipping, is based in Tehran.

The 8 surviving Filipino crewmen are scheduled to arrive in Manila tonight (Tuesday, April 10) on board Malaysian Airline flight 804.

Source: Philstar