Pirates free 17 Filipino sailors off Somalia
Pirates have freed 17 Filipino sailors after more than two months in captivity off Somalia, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
The Filipinos were kidnapped in the Gulf of Aden on September 21 when heavily armed Somali pirates hijacked the Greek cargo ship MV Captain Stefanos, reported dpa.
Foreign Undersecretary Esteban Conejos said the sailors were "safe and in good health" when they were freed on Monday evening. They were headed to Italy and then to Greece, where they would be met by the ship's owners.
"We are coordinating with the owners on their repatriation (to the Philippines)," Conejos said.
More than 90 Filipinos are still being held captive by pirates in separate hijacked ships off Somalia.
The Philippines supplies one-third of all the world's sailors. They work on major oil tankers, luxury lines and passenger vessels, exposing them to pirate attacks in dangerous regions.
The Philippine government has called for increased security in "dangerous waters" off Somalia following new hijacking incidents involving ships with Filipino seafarers.