FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has ordered the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli to exert all efforts to secure the release of 20 Filipino seafarers detained by Libyan authorities on suspicion that they were transporting smuggled oil.
A Libyan Coast Guard patrol seized on Sunday the Liberian-flagged tanker Levant on suspicion that it was smuggling oil. The tanker, which was carrying six million liters of oil, was now being towed to Tripoli.
“The Philippine Embassy in Tripoli has been directed to make sure they get urgent access to our detained seafarers, to extend all possible assistance and to secure their release and bring them home as soon as possible,” Cayetano said.
Libyan authorities have assured the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli the Filipino seafarers who were taken into custody on Sunday were in good condition and being treated well.
Cayetano said Chargè d’Affaires Mardomel Melicor met with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to request access to the detained Filipinos. BERNADETTE TAMAYO