Kidnapped Filipino seafarer Wilson Nisda arrived safely in Manila this morning from Douala, Cameroon aboard a Cathay Pacific flight, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Nisda and a Croatian co-worker were aboard the Belgian vessel Amerigo Vespucci when they were abducted by suspected Nigerian bandits in Cameroon on September 12. The vessel was conducting dredging operations in the Cameroon coast during that time.
His captors released him unharmed on September 30 following negotiations between the Belgian shipping company’s crisis team and the kidnappers.
At the onset of Nisda’s abduction, the Philippine Embassy in Nigeria dispatched Consul Alimatar Garangan and Assistance-to-Nationals Officer Alex Emam to Cameroon to attend to the seaman’s case.
The DFA-OUMWA also coordinated with the local manning agency and the Embassy on the arrangements of his repatriation, the DFA press statement said.
The seafarer’s wife together with their infant son, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Executive Director Ricardo Endaya, Special Assistant Atty. Enrico Fos, Legal Officers Emily Villanueva-Descallar and Sorhaya Dilabakun, met him at the airport.
Also present were Overseas Workers Welfare Administration representative Mario Antonio and representatives from Nisda’s local manning agency, and Gilbert Mabasa representing The Manpower Resources of Asia, Nisda’s recruitment agency.
Nisda expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the people who worked for his safe release and who assisted him in his return to the Philippines.
The DFA quoted a manning agency saying that armed Nigerian bandits kidnapped the Filipino and a Croatian seafarer. Both were working for a vessel of Jan de Nuls, a Belgian dredging operation in the port city of Douala.
Cameroon and Nigeria share the same border.
The rest of the crew was able to escape the abductors. Another Filipino crewmember was able to call the agency to report the incident, the DFA press statement said.
The manning agency has informed the family of the kidnapped Filipino, the government agency press statement further said.
The DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) has instructed the Philippine Embassy in Abuja to make representations with Nigerian authorities for the safe release of the Filipino crewmember.
It has also asked the Philippine Embassy in Brussels to coordinate with the ship’s principal in Belgium to ensure that negotiations for the release of the seafarer is being undertaken.
The DFA-OUMWA will also ensure that the manning agency continue to give the salaries and other financial benefits of the seafarer to his family here, it assured.
The last incident of kidnapping in the area was in July 2009 involving two Filipino seamen aboard MV Sichem Peace. Both were released after 18 days of captivity.