PIRATES ABDUCTED NINE Filipino sailors from a cargo shipped anchored off the coast of the West African country of Benin and there have been no immediate reports of ransoms or demands, but Manila said it is monitoring the situation.
Gunmen boarded the Liberian bulk carrier, MV Bonita, just about 14 kilometers from the port city of Cotonou, and seized the sailors.
The remaining crew members were able to dock at the port with their fertilizer cargo. The Gulf of Guinea, which extends from Gabon to Liberia, has long been a haven for pirates seeking to plunder cargo and extract kidnapping ransom and is one of the world’s most dangerous maritime regions.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has contacted the sailors’ manning agency, but details of the progress of Manila’s efforts to free the Filipinos and their names were not made public.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs is in close contact with the seafarers’ manning agency and joins the relatives’ primary call to ensure our nationals’ safety and security,” the DFA said.
Manila received the news of the abduction of the Filipinos on November 2 after port authorities released a statement. “The Autonomous Port of Cotonou regrets to inform you that Saturday morning, November 2, 2019, an act of piracy took place in the harbor area,” it said. (AFP, Reuters and Mindanao Examiner)
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