Filipino seafarers once again standout for saving 393 Syrian refugees

M/V Erasmusgracht, owned by Netherlands based ship management Spliethoff Group, rescued 393 Syrian refugees in the Ionian Sea on December 5, 2014. The Dutch cargo ship has approximately ten Filipino seafarers onboard.

Syrian refugees – mostly young men, women and children – were stranded for two days. “Their ship had no operating engine and the operating crew of the ship had already taken off,” the shipping company said. Their ship was supposedly heading for Italy from Egypt.

M/V Erasmusgracht’s captain Joop van Zadel said “all night the crew moved around looking after the refugees and providing food and water continuously. The commitment of the crew and the good behavior of all refugees had been of utmost importance.”

“I clearly asked the other commercial ships for assistance. The answer was: No, thank you. Do it yourself,” Captain Van Zadel said.

In the combined efforts of the Red Cross organization and the crew of the Eramusgracht, 393 persons were safely put ashore in Sicily, an autonomous region of Italy 6:30 pm of December 6, 2014. The following morning the cargo ship returned to its original journey to Poland.

In the spirit of Easter Sunday, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration head Hans Leo Cadac revealed this untold story of how great Filipino seafarers are. “Mabuhay ang crew ng M/V Erasmusgracht. Mabuhay ang Pilipinong Marino. Mabuhay ang mga OFW,” Cadac emphasized.