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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Philippine government agency says latest alleged Somali pirate seizure is false

Reported here:
THE Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday belied reports that heavily armed pirates hijacked a United Arab Emirates-registered oil tanker carrying 19 Filipino crew members off the coast of Somalia.
“There is no report of this hijacking incident,” said
Philippine charge d'affaires to Nairobi Bernadette Muller, citing her conversation with Joe Gordon, chief security adviser of the United Nations Field Security Coordination Office in Somalia.

In MalacaƱang, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instructed the DFA to look into reports on the incident, her spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Tuesday.

The DFA has also been ordered to get more information and work for the release of the Filipino hostages if any, Bunye said.

The President also tasked the Labor Department to work closely with the DFA to make sure the hostages' families were informed of government efforts.

The Piracy Reporting Center of the London-based International Maritime Bureau said Monday that 12 pirates armed with machine guns, AK47 rifles and sidearms seized Lin 1 tanker off Mogadishu on March 29. Nineteen overseas Filipino workers were said to be on board.

Muller said the report was false, even as she reiterated the United Nation's appeal for ship captains to keep their vessels at least 200 kilometers away from Somalia's coast to avoid pirate attacks.
Earlier post on the alleged seizure here.

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