Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Tuesday that Filipino seamen continue to face kidnappin
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Tuesday that Filipino seamen continue to face kidnapping in the pirate-infested seas off Somalia as the number of those held captive since 2006 has reached 769 Filipino seamen onboard 63 vessels.
In the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) report on measures taken to protect Filipino workers overseas, del Rosario said the Philippines, which supplies 20 percent of seamen in the world have instituted security cooperation with the United Nations and several countries to ensure the safety of seamen, particularly those onboard ships traversing Somali waters.
Rampant hijacking of vessels on the high seas off Somalia has prompted the passage of United Nations resolutions in 2008 that allow Western powers to deploy warships to escort commercial vessels and bulk carriers traversing the pirate infested waters of Somalia.
UN Resolutions 1814, 1816 and 1838 allowedcountries like Canada, Denmark, France, India, the Netherlands, Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom and the US, as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Union members to counter piracy off Somalia by deploying naval ships to escort vulnerable vessels “to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia.”
The UN noted in its resolutions that hijacking has become a keymoneymaking activity in Somalia that has allowed pirates to thrive.
Del Rosario said the DFA has “worked for the early and safe release of Filipino seamen held hostage in Somalia.”
“From 2006 up to the present, a total of 769 Filipino seamen onboard 63 ships have been held hostage off the coast of Somalia,” said del Rosario, in the DFA report. “All have been released, except 26 Filipino seamen onboard three ships.”
More than 200,000 Filipino seamen are currently onboard foreign-flagged vessels. The government has also integrated modules in maritime schools in the country on how to conduct themselves during hijacking incidents.
Source: Business Mirror