PH closely monitors kidnap of 2 Filipino sailors in Cameroon

JC Gotinga
PH closely monitors kidnap of 2 Filipino sailors in Cameroon
The Filipino seamen are among 8 crew members of a Greek oil tanker abducted in a port in Cameroon on New Year's Eve

MANILA, Philippines – The government is “closely following” the reported kidnapping of two Filipino seafarers on New Year’s Eve in Cameroon in sub-Saharan Africa, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on January 1.

“The Philippine Embassy in Abuja (Nigeria), which has jurisdiction over Cameroon, is coordinating with relevant authorities to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino seafarers,” the DFA added.

On Tuesday, December 31, armed men attacked the Greek oil tanker Happy Lady in the port of Limbe, and abducted 8 of its crew members. Aside from the two Filipinos, the victims included 5 Greeks and one Ukrainian.

The port’s police press office said the ship is owned by Athens-based Eastern Mediterranean Athens.

Greece’s marine merchant ministry, foreign ministry, and the ship’s operator are closely following developments, the merchant ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The kidnapping for ransom of sailors in the Gulf of Guinea, which includes the Cameroonian coast, is a perennial problem, accounting for 82% of the world’s maritime kidnappings from January to September 2019.

In August 2019, 13 Filipinos were among 25 crew members kidnapped from two different ships in Cameroonian waters.

A similar incident involving a Filipino seaman happened in September 2010, also in Cameroon.

On December 13, 2019, a Filipino was among 3 kidnapped sailors released by their captors in Togo, also in the Gulf of Guinea. Another Filipino crew member of the same Greek oil tanker appeared to have died of an illness while in captivity.

With some 400,000 Filipino seafarers across the globe according to the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority, the Philippines is one of the top sources of maritime workers in the world. They send home billions of pesos in remittances every year. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.