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The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the ship M/V Eglantine, which had 10 Filipino crew members on board when it was hijacked in March, has been freed from the control of Somali pirates. In a text message to GMA News Online on Tuesday, Raul Hernandez, spokesperson of the DFA, said: “According to the manning agency of M/V Eglantine, the crew were released last night. The ship is now on its way to Iran to unload its cargo.” Out of the 23 crew members of the ship, 10 were Filipinos. The ship -- owned by Andulena Corp. of Tehran – carried a ton of sugar when it was seized by Somali pirates on March 26, some 305 nautical miles from Maldives’ capital of Male. The news site Somalia Report on Tuesday reported that the ship was “possibly” pirate-free. “Reports reaching Somalia Report on Monday evening indicate that the Bolivian flagged Eglantine is no longer under pirate’s control. Military sources told Somalia Report that Iranian commandos stormed the bulker today,” the Somalia Report said.
The latest kidnapping incident brought to at least 57 the number of Filipino seamen held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The Philippine government does not negotiate nor pay ransom to kidnappers but gives ship owners the free hand in negotiating for the release of abducted sailors. - VVP, GMA News