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Pinoy Abroad

DFA confirms Filipino seaman found dead in Vanuatu beach

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday confirmed that a Filipino crew member of a foreign vessel was found dead on a beach in Vanuatu.

“It was in the local news there that a Filipino crew member was discovered missing from the foreign vessel as it left Vanuatu. Shortly, the body was found on the beach,” DFA executive director for strategic communications Ivy Banzon-Abalos said.

Banzon-Abalos said the Philippine Embassy in Australia through the Philippine Consulate General in Vanuatu has been in touch with the manning agency and has informed the seaman’s family.

“Under Philippine laws, the local manning agency is mandated to ensure that the family will receive all the benefits due to the family of the deceased,” Abalos said.

Also on Monday, Vanuatu authorities said that the body was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, and slapped travel restrictions on its most populous island. 

According to an Agence France-Presse report, government sources said the sailor's vessel had left the capital Port Vila a day before his body was found washed up near a village about five kilometers (3.1 miles) outside the city on Sunday.

The man's crewmates and police officers who retrieved the body had all tested negative for the virus, said the sources, who wished to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Banzon-Abalos added that the Philippine Embassy in Australia is closely monitoring the investigation on the case.

“The embassy in Australia stands ready to provide the appropriate assistance on the repatriation of the remains,” Abalos said.—Ma. Angelica Garcia/LDF/BM, GMA News