The seven crewmembers of M/T Levante who were detained for almost two years in Libya are now on their way home to Manila. They are accompanied by Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Affairs Abdullah Mamao. (Photo courtesy of DFA-OPD)
MANILA -- The seven crew members of the M/T Levante, who were detained for almost two years on charges of alleged oil smuggling in Libya, were released and are now en route to Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
The seven, acquitted by the Libyan High Court in February, were accompanied by Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Affairs Abdullah Mamao, who personally flew to Libya upon the instructions of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to thank the Libyan government and bring the Filipino workers home.
Last year, Libya released 13 of the vessel's 20 crew members, who were taken into custody after the Libyan Coast Guard boarded and seized their Liberian-flagged tanker while anchored in international waters.
The remaining seven officers were charged and sentenced to four years in prison in November for allegedly attempting to smuggle 16 million liters of fuel.
Upon receiving information about their release on March 5, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. thanked the Libyan government, as well as to the agency's Assistance to Nationals Fund that got the seven acquitted. (PNA)