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Friday, December 11, 2009

DOLE to Set Stronger Safety Nets against Piracy for Seamen


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today, convened with its partners and stakeholders in the seafaring industry to address the impact of piracy on Filipino seafarers and their families in Somalia .

The DOLE met with tripartite partners in the manning industry on Thursday to tackle issues on how to alleviate the effects of piracy on waters off Somalia to the families of seafarers and the seafaring industry. Among the measures discussed are the provision of psycho-social counseling and support services for the abducted and their families, emergency financial assistance and strict monitoring of compliance to the rules set by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board Resolution No. 5, Series of 2009.

The Board Resolution states that ship owners, managers and manning agencies hiring Filipino seafarers should 1) ensure that vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden "shall pass only within the Maritime Security Patrol Area," 2) submit an appropriate security plan to all ships passing through the area, 3) provide training to their crew on how to avoid, react and cope with piracy and other related incidents, and 4) immediately report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and DOLE any incidents of piracy involving their ships and share their experiences in handling these incidents.

"I have directed the POEA and OWWA to spearhead this effort to put in safety nets and safety measures to protect our seafarers," said Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque, referring to the tripartite meeting that will serve as a blueprint to protect seamen from the continuing hijacking incidents in Somalia area.

Roque said that the piracy in Somalia has come to an alarming proportion, affecting not only the Philippines , but other European countries and the United States as well.

"While some have measures in place, we want to set stronger safety nets for our seamen" the Labor Chief said.

In November alone, four incidents of hijacking were reported in which 71 Filipinos were abducted.

The Labor Chief said that concrete measures have to be done immediately in order to implement measures that will assuage the plight of Filipino seafarers in that part of the globe.

Last year, 16 abduction incidents were reported involving 197 Filipino seafarers but all of them have already been released.


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