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Pinoy Abroad

5 Pinoy seamen on board hijacked ship off Yemen

August 31, 2008 4:43pm
MANILA, Philippines - Five Filipino seamen were among the 36 crew members of a chemical tanker that was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, last Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Sunday afternoon.

A GMA Flash Report said DFA got the confirmation from the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi.

The television report said the vessel, M/T Bunga Melati 5, was hijacked while passing Yemen Sea waters near the Gulf of Aden.

DFA for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr assured that they are cooperating with the authorities for the safe release of the victims.

According to the DFA, a total of 54 Filipino seafarers have been abducted in Somali waters since July this year, prompting it to propose banning Filipino seamen from boarding ships passing through pirate-prone areas.

The Gulf of Aden, an important waterway for shipping, is within the Arabian Sea. It is between Yemen on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. It connects with the Red Sea through the Bab el Mandeb strait in the northwest.

About 11 percent of the world’s petroleum transported by ships passes through the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Suez Canal or to regional refineries.

Last July, the Associated Press (AP) cited a report from the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) that pirate attacks worldwide grew 19 percent from May to April compared to the January to March period.

Conejos had earlier confirmed the death of a Filipino crew member - Jayson Dumagat - in one of the ships that was hijacked off the coast of Somalia last August 21. - Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV