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2 Pinoy seamen stranded in Iran return home

THE Philippine Embassy in Tehran has repatriated two Filipino seamen who were stranded in Iran.

Jerry M. Gabanzo and Miguel Estrella, Jr., crew members of the MV Blue Nile, arrived in Iran on April 1 after they were offloaded from their vessel.

The Philippine Embassy in Tehran learned about their plight only on April 16 when the wife of one of the seamen sent an urgent e-mail narrating their situation in Chabahar, a town in southern Iran located more than 1,800 kilometers from Tehran.

The Philippine Embassy made immediate representations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran and its regional office in Chabahar as well as with the immigration offices in both cities to obtain custody over the Filipino seamen.

An Embassy team flew to Chabahar on April 23 and brought to Tehran the Filipino seamen the following day, April 24.

In addition, the Philippine Embassy informed the seamen’s manning agencies in Manila about their situation in Iran and brought to the latter’s attention their complaint of unpaid salaries and other benefits from the ship owner based in Dubai, UAE.

Because of the Philippine Embassy’s constant and personal follow ups at the Immigration Office in Tehran and the Iranian government’s continued support and assistance on the case, the processing of the two seamen’s exit clearances and other documentary requirements took only one day to complete.

Consul General Alfredo M. Borlongan accompanied them on their return flight to Manila.