Negotiations Begin

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said negotiations are being carried out by the principal of “MT Liquid Velvet” with the pirates who hijacked the chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Monday with 21 Filipino seafarers on board.

Raul Hernandez, spokesman of the DFA, said on Thursday, “The vessel’s principal, which based in Greece, has assured that the local manning agency that it is taking responsibility on the matter.”

“The DFA has instructed Philippine embassies in Nairobi and Manama to monitor the situation and coordinate with the Combined Maritime Forces as well as the Philippine Embassy in Athens to keep track of the negotiations being undertaken by the vessel’s principal with the pirates,” Hernandez said.

He said the families of the crewmembers were already informed by the local manning agency of this incident.

An earlier Somalia Report said eight armed pirates aboard a small speedboat seized the MT Liquid Velvet and headed to the Bargal area.

Hernandez said the Marshall island flagged Greek-owned chemical/oil tanker was hicjacked by Somali pirates while it was approaching the Gulf of Aden on its way to Mormugao, India.

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