PH to help 20 Filipino seafarers detained in Libya
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday, August 30, vowed to help the 20 Filipino seafarers detained in Libya for alleged oil smuggling.
"The Philippine embassy in Tripoli has been directed to make sure they get urgent access to our detained seafarers, to extend all possible assistance, and to secure their release and bring them home as soon as possible," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
The DFA said the 20 Filipinos were arrested after Libyan authorities seized their vessel on Sunday, August 27.
Embassy chargè d'affaires Mardomel Melicor said the vessel, Liberian-flagged tanker Levant, was apprehended "on suspicion that it was smuggling oil."
The tanker carried around 6 million liters of oil and was later towed to Tripoli, the DFA said.
Filipino seafarers make up around a fourth of the total number of seafarers around the world, reaching more than 200,000 at any given time, according to the DFA. (Watch a Rappler story on Filipino seafarers below.)
The DFA added that the Philippines "consistently ranks as one of the top sources of seafarers, contributing the largest number of ratings and the second largest number of officers as of 2016." – Rappler.com