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PIA Press Release
2008/11/13

Gov't doing everything possible to secure freedom of RP seamen hostaged by pirates

Manila (13 November) -- The Philippine government is doing its best to hasten the release of 89 Filipino seamen who were abducted by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden this year, Executive Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Eduardo Ermita said.

In his weekly media briefing yesterday afternoon in Malacanang, Ermita said the latest victims were 23 Filipino crewmembers of the chemical tanker, Stolt Strength, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden last Monday.

Since January, 161 Filipino seafarers have been taken hostage by Somali pirates.

Ermita said negotiations for the release of hostages are usually undertaken by the companies or shipowners who hired the Filipino seamen.

But he said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is closely coordinating with the shipowners through the Philippine embassy in Nigeria for the freedom of the Filipino hostages.

The embassy in Nigeria in the Philippines' diplomatic outpost nearest to Somalia.

"We are hopeful that with the successful negotiation to be undertaken by the shipowners, we will be able to secure the release of the 89 Filipino seamen still under custody" of the Somali pirates, Ermita said.

Piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, has continued unabated since Somalia plunged into political chaos and civil unrest 1991. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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