By Ariel Fernandez
Five Filipino seafarers who were kidnapped by Nigerian pirates last month returned home and were reunited with their families in Manila on Tuesday, April 25.
The Pinoy seafarers arrived at NAIA Terminal 1.
The seamen recounted that heavily armed Nigerian pirates stormed their cargo ship on March 30, 2017 and abducted five Filipinos and one foreign crew of the ship. The seamen said the rest of the crew hid and were spared by the pirates.
According to the seamen, the pirates released the kidnapped victims after the shipping company negotiated with the pirates, presumably with ransom payments.
The Filipino seafarers were identified as Edgardo Olea, 49, of Taytay Rizal; Ramses A. Sardena, 35, able seaman, of Pangasinan; Villamor Pascua, 57, chief mate, of Sampaloc, Manila; Franklin G. Ebrado, 35, 2nd officer, of Cebu City; and Abner S. Marana, 34, able seaman, of Cauayan, Isabela.
The seafarers said “We were almost killed during the attack; we never thought that we could ever be with our families and loved ones again,“ one of the crew uttered.
“We are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte will help us obtain benefits from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration [OWWA],” the seamen added.