By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government is taking the “necessary steps” to ensure the safe release of seven Filipinos who were among a dozen crew members of a Swiss-owned vessel who were seized by suspected pirates off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Philippine Embassies in Abuja and Berne are coordinating with concerned authorities in Nigeria and Switzerland to get additional information on the condition and whereabouts of the seven Filipino crewmembers of the MV Glarus.
Philippine Ambassador to Abuja Shirley Ho Vicario said the seven were among the 12 crewmen who were taken by gunmen while their ship was making its way from Lagos to Port Harcourt.
Vicario said five other Filipinos and two foreign nationals were left on board the vessel.
It was not immediately clear why they were not taken.
Earlier, the ship’s operator said the attack happened around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island.
Aside from the 7 Filipinos, a spokesman from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said the armed men also seized crew members from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.
This is the third kidnapping incident involving overseas Filipino workers in the span of almost three months.
Last July, the DFA also reported two separate incidents of abduction in Libya and Iraq.