The number of Filipino seafarers seized by Somali pirates has now climbed to 81 following the hijacking of a chemical tanker with 18 Filipino seafarers onboard, which the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Tuesday.
“The DFA received a flash report from the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi (Kenya) that the 13,000-deadweight chemical tanker MT Motivator, which is under Marshall Islands flag, was hijacked in the southern Red Sea Sunday morning. Eighteen Filipino crew members are onboard,” DFA spokesman J. Eduardo Malaya said.
Marshall Islands-flagged chemical tanker MT Motivator was hijacked early Sunday off Northern Bab-Al-Mandeb, the strait between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
The chemical tanker, with a deadweight of 13,065 tons, was loaded with lubricating oil when it was hijacked by Somali pirates.
“The DFA is coordinating with the ship’s principals and the naval authorities in the region on measures to ensure the safety and security of the seafarers,” Malaya assured.
There are now 81 Filipino seafarers onboard six vessels currently being held captive by Somali pirates: 19 from MV Eleni P, which was hijacked on May 12; 21 onboard MV Voc Daisy, captured on April 21; about 19 Filipinos onboard MV Samho Dream, captured on April 4; one Filipino onboard MV Iceberg I hijacked on March 30; three Filipinos onboard Taiwanese fishing vessel FV Tai Yuan 227, which was captured on May 6; and 18 onboard MT Motivator captured on July 4.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Filipino seafarers comprise 30 percent of the world’s 1.5 million seafarers.