Somali hijackers free 13 seamanPublished on Thursday 11th September 2008
Philippines: The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that the M/T BBC Trinidad, the German-owned, Antigua-flagged container vessel, was freed Thursday around 6 p.m., Manila time, with its 13-man crew, by the ship’s hijackers.
In a text message, DFA spokesman Claro Cristobal identified the freed seamen as: Antonio Calubiran, chief officer, 43, of Antique; Mark Anthony Abalos, 4th engineer, 32, of Rizal; Honorato Sotaridona, oiler, 48, of Pasig City; Ryan Abarientos, wiper, 26, of Cebu City; Jesus Cubil, able seaman, 36, of Cebu City; Elmer Langaman, ordinary seaman, 29, of Pangasinan; Arturo Nicolas, ordinary seaman, 43, of Makati City; Rodrigo Recto, ordinary seaman, 33, of Manila; and Arnold Asuncion, cook, 30, of Bulacan.
Cristobal said that all, including the nine Filipino seamen, were physically unharmed while in the pirates' custody more than three weeks after the hijack of their ship last August 21.
He said the DFA was now coordinating with the shipping company and manning agency on the repatriation of the sailors, possibly via Oman.
However, Cristobal is still to confirm the reported release of Japan-owned M/T Irene, which had 15 Filipinos.
If the Agence France-Presse report is true, then 36 Filipino seamen still remain with Somali pirates: the 20 Filipino seamen Japanese-owned Stella Maris, nine from Malaysian-owned Melati 2, five from Melati 5, and two from Iran-owned Irandeyanat.