THE Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it is verifying the reported abduction of nine Filipino crewmen of a Norwegian cargo ship by suspected pirates off the coast of Benin in Africa.
DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Menez told reporters they are coordinating with the manning agency of the Filipino seamen.
“The Philippine government is actively monitoring the reported piracy incident that occurred somewhere in Benin that led to the kidnapping of nine Filipino seafarers. The DFA is in close contact with the seafarer’s manning agency and joins the relatives’ primary call to ensure our nationals’ security and safety,” Menez said.
Local authorities in Benin have confirmed that a suspected piracy attack took place on Sunday, with the pirates seizing the MV Bonia.
The Norwegian owner of the ship, the Ugland Company, has issued a statement confirming that the “MV Bonita was boarded by pirates early Saturday morning off Cotonou in Benin while she was at anchor.”
It added that nine crew members were taken by the pirates, including the ship’s captain.
Menez also said they are monitoring the reported abduction of four more Filipino seafarers in Togo, Africa.
“We are working to release an initial statement on the previous report of abduction in Benin this morning. This second report on Togo will also need primary verification before we can release a statement,” he said, adding the Philippines has no embassies in Benin and Togo.
The DFA is working through the embassy in Abuja in Nigeria which has jurisdiction over Benin and Togo for updates on the incidents.