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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Arroyo bars Filipino seafarers from sailing near Gulf of Aden

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Manila: The government of the Philippines, which provides as many as one on three seafarers worldwide, has issued a directive that bans the deployment of Filipino sailors in the Gulf of Aden, or to within 200 nautical miles or 300 kilometres of Somalia.

“If there will be no assurance on the safety and security of our countrymen there, I think it is logical to ban their deployment in the areas,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo, who added that safety and security was the top priority of the Filipino government.

Fajardi added that the implementiation of the rules and regulations of the deployment ban is being drafted by the Department of Labor and Employmment (DOLE), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

It is still unclear exactly how the Philippines expects to enforce the ban, or how long the ban will remain in place. In a similar ruling a few years ago Manila barred its citizens from working in Iraq – each page of every new passport stamped to that effect.

More than 100 Filipino sailors are currently being held captive by Somalian pirates. [21/04/09]