Somali pirates now hold 134 Filipino seafarers hostage

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The number of abducted Filipino seafarers in Somali waters rose to 134 with the seizure of the MV Delight on November 18. The seven Filipino seafarers are members of a 25 multi-national crew aboard the Hong Kong registered Iranian ship, whose crew also includes seven Indians, two Pakistanis and two Ghanaians. None of the crew members are reported to be harmed.

The 134 Filipinos currently held come from a total of eight hijacked ships, including 19 from the high profile capture of the Sirius Star; with the single largest contingent being the 26 man crew of the MV Centauri taken on the 17th of September. The total would be higher but for 76 Filipino crew have been released by the Somali pirates since the April of this year.

The large number of abducted Filipinos reflects the large Filipino seafaring community, some 230,000 of all ranks in 2004, who command wages only a third of that of Western seamen.