Pinoy Seaman Killed in German-owned Ship

By Gloria Jane Baylon

A Filipino seafarer was killed and another was declared missing January 26, two days after an attempt by anti-piracy naval ships to rescue them and their German-owned vessel from the clutches of Somali pirates, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

DFA reported that Farolito Vallega was reportedly shot to death “in a fit of anger” by the pirates, and that Elviro Salazar was missing after he jumped over board. Another Filipino who jumped overboard during the rescue mission, identified as Ferdinand Aquino, was eventually rescued by a Danish frigate.

The three were among the seven Filipino crew members of the 12-man German-owned “MV Beluga Nomination,” which was hijacked 390 nautical miles north of Port Victoria in the Seychelles on January 22.

Aside from the Filipinos, the other crewmembers are of Russian, Ukrainian and Polish descent. They are still held hostage by the pirates.

The DFA said it condemned “in no uncertain terms” the “unspeakable crime” against Vallega, described as “an innocent person merely doing his job and making an honest living for his family.”

”His death is an unspeakable crime against an innocent person and adds to the list of heinous crimes already committed by these pirates. We wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family,” it said.

In a statement, the DFA appealed for the release of the Filipinos and the other seafarers as it reiterated its strong support of measures that will further protect Filipino seafarers.

“The DFA supports more robust international action against piracy. We also call on vessel owners to adopt best management practices to deter piracy attacks,” the statement said.

The DFA said that a high-level interagency committee meeting was held on Monday at Malacanang, chaired by Deputy Executive Secretary Jose Amorado, which “looked into the implications of this incident on the safety of Filipino seafarers, especially those on board ships passing thru the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.”

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