The seven crew members of the M/T Levante left Tripoli with Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Affairs Abdullah Mamao.
7 Filipino seamen detained in Libya to return home
( - March 11, 2019 - 9:35am

MANILA, Philippines — The seven Filipino seafarers recently released from prison in Libya are now on their way home to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Monday.

Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Affairs Abdullah Mamao met with Libyan Foreign Minister Taher Siala in Tripoli last Sunday. 

Mamao also delivered a letter from Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin to his Libyan counterpart. 

The seven Filipino seamen then left the North African country along with Mamao, who expressed his gratitude to Libyan authorities.

The Filipino seafarers have been detained in Libya since 2017. The seven were among the 20 Filipinos arrested after the Libyan Coast Guard boarded and seized Liberian-flagged M/T Levante while anchored in international waters, according to the DFA. The 20 Filipino seafarers were then accused of trying to smuggle fuel.

The 13 Filipino crewmembers of Levante were released in February 2018 but the remaining seven were charged.

In November 2018, the seven Filipinos were sentenced to four years in prison for allegedly attempting to smuggle 16 million liters of fuel.

A few weeks ago, the Libyan High Court ordered the release of the seven Filipino seafarers.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli have been working for the release of the seven who have consistently denied the charges," the DFA said in a statement.

Locsin, along with Mamao and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, appealed for the release of the Filipino seafarers in Libya. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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