May 17, 2006

DFA to assist Pinoy seaman

THE Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom had sent a consular team to Southampton to help a Filipino seaman arrested for the alleged killing of a fellow Filipino aboard the Queen Mary 2.
The department said that the consular team is scheduled to meet the accused in Southampton on Wednesday to provide him with legal assistance.
The suspect is a 49-year-old seaman whose name was withheld while the case is under investigation.
ChargĂ© d’Affaires and Consul General Mario de Leon informed the department that the Queen Mary 2 is still at sea completing a scheduled cruise and is expected to dock at her home port in Southampton on Wednesday.
While waiting for the ship to sail into the United Kingdom, de Leon spoke with Police Deputy Supt. Gallon Cessford Sr., an officer of the Hampshire police, on the details of the killing.
Cessford said the victim, a 40-year-old worker, was injured after a fight below the ship deck while the luxury liner was en route to Norway in the afternoon of May 12.  
The victim was being airlifted to a hospital in the northern coastal town of Groeningen in the Netherlands when he died.  
The foreign office said a postmortem on the worker was scheduled Tuesday in the Netherlands to determine the extent of the injuries.
The suspect has been detained on the ship by the captain, in compliance with Section 105 of the UK Merchant Shipping Act.   
Cessford told Philippine Embassy officials that after he was informed of the killing, he immediately sent seven police officers to Norway to investigate the incident. 
De Leon said the UK police will accompany the Philippine consular officials when they talk to crewmembers who may have witnessed the killing.
--Jonathan Vicente

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