We’ll pay fine for OFWs in Nigeria theft

SAY SHIP OWNER, CREWING FIRM
We’ll pay fine for OFWs in Nigeria theft

By Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 16:50:00 02/25/2009

Filed Under: Overseas Employment, Crime and Law and Justice

MANILA, Philippines—The ship owner and the crewing firm of the 13
Filipino seamen sentenced in Nigeria to five years in prison or a fine
of $84,500 promised to pay the penalty so they could be freed and
repatriated back to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs
said Wednesday.

On February 20, a Nigerian court found the 13 Filipino seamen of M/T
Akuada guilty of stealing 12,500 tons of crude oil from the Niger
Delta. The convicted Filipinos, who were arrested with nine other
Filipino seamen on November 14, 2008, entered a guilty plea.

“The DFA received an assurance from the shipping principal, Corinthina
Maritime SA Greece and its sister coman Kathrina Greece Crewing based
in Athens, that they would pay the fine,” said acting DFA spokesman Ed
Malaya.

Asked about the time frame, he said the ship owner and the crewing
company did not specify when the fine would be paid.

At the same time, the two companies also promised that they would
honor the seamen’s contract and their other obligations to the
Filipino seamen, Malaya said.

The DFA official also said the two companies would pay for the
seamen’s air fare back to the country.

Malaya, a lawyer, noted that the seamen may have pleaded guilty to
expedite the case and their eventual return to the Philippines.

Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest oil producers, exporting some two
million barrels of oil per day, loses an estimated 100,000 barrels of
liters of crude or refined petroleum products every day to organized
gangs that tap pipelines and siphon off tons of oil.

Citing various kidnapping incidents, the Philippine government has a
standing work ban in Nigeria.

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