18 Pinoy seafarers held in Oman – DFA

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
18 Pinoy seafarers held in Oman � DFA
This file photo shows a Filipino crew on the bridge of a ship.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is still waiting for information on how several Filipino crewmembers of an oil tanker were allegedly taken hostage by the Iran regime in Oman.

No confirmation on the incident involving the alleged hijacking of the MV St. Nikolas near Oman and the Hormuz Strait was released as of last night.

“We are awaiting the official report on the incident,” DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said.

According to the UK Maritime Trade Operations, which advises vessel operators on incidents involving shipping, up to five armed masked men boarded the St. Nikolas in the Gulf of Oman in the early hours Thursday, the Seatrade Maritime News reported.

The tanker’s owner is the Greece-based Empire Navigation, the trade journal said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a maritime security expert said “Iran has confirmed that it was responsible for the hijacking of the oil tanker MV St. Nikolas near Oman on Jan. 11, 2024. The US-controlled and Greek-operated tanker was carrying 145,000 tons of oil from Iraq to Turkey.”

Empire Navigation said the vessel is manned by a total of 19 crew – 18 Filipinos and a Greek. Unconfirmed reports suggest that security cameras were covered after armed men boarded the tanker.

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