MANILA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Wednesday confirmed that 19 Filipino seamen were among the 26 multinational crew of a Saudi supertanker seized by pirates on Somalian waters.
Executive Director of the Foreign Affairs Department Crescente Relacion said the latest incident brings the total number of Filipinos in the custody of Somalian pirates to 127.
Relacion said he was informed by the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi that all crew members were unharmed.
The Saudi-owned MV Sirius Star, which is loaded with 100-million U.S. dollars worth of crude oil, and its crew were hijacked some 450 miles southeast of the Kenyan Coast on Nov. 15.
It is the latest of a string of hijacking incidents that occurred near the pirate-infested waters off the Somalian coast.
Relacion said the Philippine government has instructed its embassies in Kenya, Manama and Riyadh and the Consul General in Dubai to coordinate with ship-owners and international maritime authorities on efforts to secure the safe release of the crew and vessel.
The government said it does not negotiate directly nor pay ransom to the kidnappers as a policy.
The Philippines supplies a third of all of the world's sailors. Some 350,000 Filipino sailors are employed all around the world, manning major oil tankers, luxury liners and passenger ships.