NIGERIA (July 10) — Sichem Peace, a Singapore flag chemical tanke, and six of its crew including two Filipinos, were seized by Nigerian armed militants on July 4 about 18 miles off Koko, Nigeria, according to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
The DFA has instructed the Philippine Embassy in Abuja to make representations with Nigerian authorities for the safe release of the Filipino crew, and for the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to facilitate the conduct of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the manning agency, has informed the families of the Filipino crew of the hijacking incident. At the same time, the vessel’s principal is likewise negotiating for the release of the vessel and its crew.
This latest hijacking incident came about after three Filipino crew members of an earlier hijacked ship, MV Pompei, arrived safely in Manila on July 6.
The MV Pompei was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden by Somalian pirates on 18 April 2009. The crew members were released on June 28 after a series of negotiations conducted by principal of the vessel, Dredging International.
The crew arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport escorted by the representative of the vessel’s principal who expressed appreciation to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the assistance rendered to the families of the crew, and the manning agency while the vessel was held in captivity.
The Filipino seamen were in good spirits and were welcomed by their families upon their arrival at the airport.
DFA personnel from the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), together with representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the vessel’s local manning agency were at the airport to assist the arriving crew.
Following their arrival, a thanksgiving mass was offered by the manning agency on July 7. A medical check up was conducted for the crew before they finally left for their respective provinces.