FIVE Filipino seafarers who were held captives by the Somali pirates for more than four years were finally released.
The Pinoy sailors were received by Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Jesus Yabes, together with Philippine Embassy in Nairobi Chargé d’Affaires Uriel Norman Garibay and other DFA officials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon arriving in Nairobi after four and a half years of captivity in the hands of the Somali pirates.
Arnel Pregellana Balbero, Elmer Salvador Balbero, Antonio Auxtero Libres Jr., Edwas Akes Tininggal, Jr. and Ferdinand Jacinto Dalit were among the 29-man crew of the Omani-flagged FV Naham 3 that was hijacked on March 26, 2012 while traversing the Indian Ocean some 65 nautical miles south of Seychelles.
Other than the five Filipinos, the crew was made up of Cambodian, Chinese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese seafarers. Of the 29, one died during the hijacking while two others succumbed to illnesses while in captivity.
“We are pleased that the five Filipinos are now with us and that they are safe. We have scheduled them for medical tests and psychological debriefing to at least start their way to a full recovery from this ordeal,” said Yabes.