Seven Filipinos are among the dozen crew members of a Swiss-owned ship who were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Nigeria, Philippine government officials announced Wednesday as they labored to learn more details about the incident.
Foreign Department spokesman Elmer Cato said Filipino diplomats in Berne and Abuja were coordinating with authorities in Nigeria to track down the pirates who attacked MV Glarus on Saturday.
“The Philippine Embassy in Abuja said the seven were among 12 of 19 crew members who were reported to have been taken by gunmen as the vessel was making its way from Lagos to Port Harcourt,” Cato said.
Shortly after the attack, the company sent a statement to news media that the pirates boarded the ship 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island “by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and eventually the bridge. Having destroyed much of the vessel's communications equipment, the criminal gang departed taking 12 of the 19 crew complement as hostage.”
The nationalities of the crew members were not released at that time.
On Wednesday, Shirley Ho Vicario, Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria, said the pirates abandoned five other Filipinos and two foreign nationals on the ship.
The majority of the 1.2 million seafarers in the global shipping industry come from the Philippines.
The kidnapping is fourth since 2007 where Filipino seafarers were taken from ships off Nigeria. In 2011, Filipino seafarer Farolito Vallega, 48, was aboard a German-owned ship, MV Beluga Navigation, when he was shot and killed by Somali pirates.
Data from the World Shipping Council shows 12 ships with more than 170 seafarers from around the world are being held hostage by Somali pirates.