ROXAS BLVD., Manila (DWDD) – Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli to exert all efforts to secure the release of 20 Filipino seafarers detained by Libyan authorities after seizing their vessel on Sunday.
“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,” Secretary Cayetano said.
Embassy Chargè d’Affaires Mardomel Melicor said he has requested access to the detained Filipino seafarers from the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Melicor said a Libyan Coast Guard patrol seized the Liberian-flagged tanker Levant on suspicion that it was smuggling oil. The tanker, which is carrying 6 million liters of oil, is now being towed to Tripoli.
Filipino seafarers make up at least one-fourth of the total number of seafarers worldwide, numbering more that 200,000 at any given time. 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. DFA / MCAG