Diplomatic Efforts

The Philippines has joined intensified diplomatic efforts in the United Arab Emirates to tackle piracy as part of a drive by Dubai-based diplomats by the consul-generals of affected countries’ to meet frequently.

The Philippine Consul-General in Dubai, Benitto Valeriano stressed the importance of collaboration as, “almost every ship that crosses the Indian Ocean has a Filipino officer or crewmember.”

“Our first meeting was held on Sunday and the consul-generals of Yemen and the Philippines participated. All affected countries’ consul-generals plan to meet frequently,” India Consul-General Sanjay Verma was quoted as saying.

The meeting stemmed from the release of 11 Indians along with 14 other crew of the Rak Afrikana last week — among them Filipino mariners — thus ending their 332-day captivity saga after arriving safely in Mombasa a week ago.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has stated that 107 Filipino seafarers onboard 10 vessels have been held captive by pirates.

The diplomats explored ways to safeguard ships and sailors from the growing threat of Somali pirates, and to release those who are still in captivity.

“We have started informal consultations very recently, sharing our experience and ideas,” he said, adding that heads of missions from Tanzania, Bangladesh and Pakistan are also expected to join forces soon.

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