Malacañang elated over release of Pinoy sailors PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 10:02

Malacañang the other day welcomed reports that Filipino seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates have been released.In a press briefing at Malacañang, Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government is very happy over the release of the 19 Filipino seafarers who were abducted with five other South Korean seamen in April.

“We are very happy that they are safe,” “she said (adding that) they will go into a sort of debriefing.”

In a related development, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday commended the parties responsible for the successful release of the South Korean supertanker Samho Dream.

The DFA said it was happy that these courageous Filipinos will soon be in the company of their loved ones.

“The Philippine government will continue to closely coordinate and work with ship principals, manning agencies and other parties in securing the release of the other seafarers who are still in the hands of Somali pirates,” it added.

Ninety-two Filipino seamen are being held captive by pirates in the east African state.

The 300,000-ton Samho Dream was seized in the Indian Ocean in April as it was heading fully laden from Iraq to the US state of Louisiana with a crew of 19 Filipinos and five South Koreans.

Officials of Samho Shipping and the South Korean foreign ministry declined to disclose exactly how much ransom was paid. But South Korean media, including the Yonhap news agency, reported that a ransom of $9 million to $9.5 million was paid for the ship’s release.

Yonhap said the amount was the largest ever to be given to Somali pirates. The news agency cited Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program, as saying the pirates earlier demanded $20 million.