Undated photo shows the British oil tanker Stena Impero, which Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized in the Strait of Hormuz, the latest provocation in a strategic waterway that has become a flashpoint in the tensions between Tehran and the West.
Pinoy among crew of tanker seized by Iranian forces
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino was part of the crew of the United Kingdom-registered vessel seized by Iranian authorities on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed yesterday.

The DFA said Philippine Ambassador to Iran Fred Santos has reached out to Iranian authorities for the immediate release of the still unidentified Filipino crew member of MT Stena Impero.

Reports said Iranian authorities seized the vessel while it was transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, triggering condemnation from the British government.

On board the vessel were 23 crewmembers, including 18 Indians, three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, citing the manning agency of the vessel, said there were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

“The Philippine-based manning agency immediately informed the Filipino seafarer’s next of kin and is providing necessary assistance, while its foreign counterpart is in active coordination with UK authorities on the whereabouts of the ship and the condition of the seafarers on board,” read the DFA statement.

“MT Stena Impero was reportedly boarded by unidentified intruders following an approach by small craft and a helicopter while transiting the Strait of Hormuz in international waters. Authorities were unable to contact the vessel which is not tracking as heading to Iran,” it added.

On Twitter, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. expressed optimism that Iran will treat the Filipino seafarer with greatest consideration. 

“Iran has always treated Filipinos with the greatest consideration and the highest regard for their safety. They released 2 Filipino prisoners who were convicted of smuggling contraband, upon my request,” he tweeted yesterday.

Meanwhile, the DFA has warned Filipinos in the Kurdistan region in Iraq to keep a low profile following the killing of a Turkish diplomat and two other diplomatic staff at a restaurant in Erbil last week.

The agency said it is closely monitoring the situation following the incident through the Philippine embassy in Baghdad.

“The embassy is asking members of the Filipino community in the region, as well as those traveling there, to keep a vigilant watch on potential threats to security, keep a low profile and avoid participating in public demonstrations,” it added.

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