No ban yet on RP sailors' deployment - Ermita
Manila (4 February) -- The recruitment of Filipino seafarers to man vessels plying the African coast, where piracy is a constant threat, continues to this day.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, however, disclosed in a media briefing that a recommendation has been submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to ban the deployment of Filipino sailors to such vessels.
But the President, according to Ermita, has yet to act on the recommendation.
The President, he intimated, must be studying as well the position of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which is worried about the loss of revenue and employment opportunities that the probation would cause.
The Philippines is the foremost supplier of seafarers, manning oil tankers, luxury liners, and passenger vessels around the globe.
"While awaiting the guidelines from the President, it will remain the way it is. There is no ban yet," Ermita said.
On Jan. 18, Ermita said, 16 Filipino seamen were released by Somali pirates after almost two months in captivity. Their Greek vessel, the M/V Maran Centaurus, was hijacked Nov. 29 last year in the Somali Bassin, 600 nautical miles north east of the Seychelles.
The seamen, he said, will soon be back to the country, accompanied by their employer.
Since 2006, Ermita said, a total of 402 Filipino seamen in 33 ships have been released. A total 460 Filipino seamen serving aboard 38 sea vessels have been kidnapped.
To this day, 58 seamen remain in the hands of the pirates. (PIA-MMIO) [top]