1 of 19 Filipino seamen killed in Nigeria port attack — DFA

By Veronica Uy

Posted date: January 02, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — One of the 19 Filipino seamen who jumped off their burning ship after an attack by militants in Port Harcourt, Nigeria died on December 19, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Wednesday.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Esteban Conejos refused to give the name of the fatality until his next of kin are notified. He would only say that the victim worked as an electrician inside the MT Keno and that he died from severe burns in his body.

At the same time, he said the remaining 18 who survived the assault were again attacked outside their hotel Tuesday, New Year’s Day.

Reiterating the deployment ban to the African country, Conejos said the seamen’s manning agency may be held liable for their deployment there.

Quoting a report from the Philippine embassy in Abuja, he said MT Keno was docked at a pier in Port Harcourt when militants fired shots, causing an explosion on the ship.All 19 Filipino seamen jumped off the ship just before the blast but one was not too successful. The rest were taken to a hotel in Port Harcourt for their eventual repatriation.

“They are being housed in a hotel. We sent a consular team from Abuja to Port Harcourt,” Conejos said.

“The Philippine authorities are on top of the situation and we are properly coordinating with local officials for the evacuation and repatriation of the trapped Filipino seamen in the hotel,” he assured.

He said he has asked the Philippine consular team to evacuate the seamen from the hotel in Port Harcourt to a safer area in Abuja, as well as to arrange for the repatriation of the body of the fatality.