We Need Help

Somali piracy takes heavy toll on Philippine sailors

By Kate McGeown

BBC News, Philippines

For the first four months of this year, Captain Alex Caniete was held hostage half a world away from his native Philippines.

His ship had been captured by Somali pirates as it approached the Gulf of Aden, and his old slow vessel was no match for the gun-toting pirates in their speedboat.

Capt Caniete is not the only Filipino affected by piracy.

“Every time there’s a report of a ship hijacked off the coast of Somalia, almost always there’s a Filipino involved,” admits Deputy Foreign Minister Esteban Conejos.

“Since 2006, a total of 748 Filipinos, in 61 vessels, have been hijacked in this way.”

Filipinos are not being particularly singled out by the pirates, it is just that so many people from the Philippines work in the maritime industry.

A third of all the world’s seafarers are from the Philippines, so it is not surprising that there is another less welcome statistic – in the past year, more Filipinos have been taken hostage than any other nationality.


Capt Caniete’s ordeal began ….[Click here to continue reading]

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One Reply to “We Need Help”

  1. mark


    “Since 2006, a total of 748 Filipinos……………..”

    Forgive the apparently rhetorical question but what would happen were the hostages French, British or American?

    In what can only be described as a Catch-22 situation, the scandalous situation will continue as the importance of seafarers’ remittances to the Philippine economy (currently estimated at circa $2.461 billion a year) is such that no Filipino association or union is going insist upon any form of industrial action that could jeopardise the seafarers’ future prospects.

    Here’s a link to an interesting article from a couple of months ago:

    Filipino Seafarers: In Hell and High Waters


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