- Title: PHILIPPINES: Filipino crew held hostage by pirates return home from Somalia
- Date: 3rd May 2009
- Summary: MANILA, PHILIPPINES (MAY 2, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SAILORS WALKING IN MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ARRIVAL AREA SAILORS WALKING WITH THEIR LUGGAGE SAILORS CARRYING THEIR BAGS CATHY BORRETA RUNNING TO EMBRACE HER HUSBAND RODEL, THE SHIP'S SECOND MATE WIFE KISSING HER HUSBAND AND SAYING "YOU LOOK VERY DIFFERENT!" AND CRYING HUSBAND AND WIFE EMBRACING (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) RODEL BORRETA, SECOND MATE OF STOLT STRENGTH, SAYING "Of course we're happy, who wouldn't be happy when you're back with your family." (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) CATHY BORRETA, WIFE OF SHIP'S SECOND MATE RODEL BORRETA, SAYING "This is his second life, it's really a miracle, an answered prayer. We thank everyone who helped and made a way for our husbands to be released." FOREIGN AFFAIRS UNDERSECRETARY ESTEBAN CONEJOS STANDING BESIDE SAILORS AND ADDRESSING REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) ESTEBAN CONEJOS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS UNDERSECRETARY FOR MIGRANT WORKERS, SAYING "The Office of the President has decided to impose a ban on the deployment of Filipino seafarers to the Gulf of Aden and to the, along the coast of Somalia and Yemen." SHIP COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE SAYING "WE ARE SIMPLY HAPPY THAT ALL OUR CREW ARE HERE NOW FOR THEIR FAMILIES." SAILORS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABELARDO MERCADO, CAPTAIN OF STOLT STRENGTH, SAYING "I was born as a seaman and a sailor, I will never turn back the call of the sea. But prudent wise, prudence wise, I will have to think twice on the any assignment." SAILORS AND WIVES BOARDING BUS CAPTAIN PACHECO SITTING BESIDE HIS WIFE INSIDE BUS BUS LEAVING AIRPORT DRIVEWAY
- Embargoed: 18th May 2009 13:00
- Location: Philippines
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA28KGA1O5TVYOGQBJP5YP6APGV
- Story Text: Filipino sailors who were released by Somali pirates returned home on Saturday (May 2) after more than five months in captivity.
The chemical tanker, Stolt Strength, manned fully by a Filipino crew of 23 was taken captive last November off the Somalia coast. Pirates released the ship last April 21.
The shipping company said it paid ransom for the seamen's release, but declined to say how much.
None of the crew were harmed while spending 162 days in captivity but pirates threatened to shoot some of them, ship captain Abelardo Pacheco said.
Their return was delayed when they ran low on fuel, and German and U.S.
forces assisted them at sea.
The sailors' wives tearfully welcomed their husbands in the Manila airport. Many of them had appealed to government officials in the past weeks to help secure their husbands release.
"Of course we're happy, who wouldn't be happy when you're back with your family," the ship's second mate, Rodel Borreta, said.
The wives said they were grateful to have their husbands back safe, as they were worried over their deteriorating health.
"This is his second life, it's really a miracle, an answered prayer. We thank everyone who helped and made a way for our husbands to be released," Cathy Borreta said.
The Philippines has imposed a ban on the deployment of Filipino sailors on vessels passing near Somali waters, officials announced last April, but admitted that details of how such a ban would be enforced were still being worked out.
About 40 percent of 800,000 seafarers around the world are Filipinos, and about 85 Filipinos in six vessels were still being held by Somali pirates.
"The Office of the President has decided to impose a ban on the deployment of Filipino seafarers to the Gulf of Aden and to the, along the coast of Somalia and Yemen," said Esteban Conejos, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers.
Labour groups disagreed with a deployment ban, saying it would threaten the livelihood of thousands of seafarers.
Though hesitant to return to dangerous passage ways, the released sailors were still tied to their trade.
"I was born as a seaman and a sailor, I will never turn back the call of the sea. But prudent wise, prudence wise, I will have to think twice on the next assignment," said the ship's captain Abelardo Pacheco.
Seafarers make up a large part of the around 9 million Filipinos who work overseas. Remittances, which are likely to be around $16 billion this year, form a major part of the economy.
There were 293 piracy incidents worldwide in 2008 -- about 11 percent up from the year before, the International Maritime Bureau said. Attacks off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden almost tripled.
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