KIDNAPPED BY PIRATES
BALAMBAN SEAMAN HELD CAPTIVE ON CARGO SHIP LIVES TO SAIL ANOTHER DAY
Images of his future wife, fouryear-old son and his family flashed before his eyes as the tip of an assault rifle’s barrel was pressed against his left temple.
Magdaleno Sangre Jr., trembling and crying, was afraid that the bright future he had envisioned for his family might end in the waters off Nigeria, after a gang of pirates took him captive with 11 other crew members of a Swiss cargo ship last Sept. 22.
It was the 24-year-old native of Barangay Pondol, Balamban’s first encounter with pirates, who hijack cargo ships and hold these for ransom.
The incident, however, has not dampened his desire to return to seafaring.
“Mobalik gihapon ko, uy. Mopahuway lang sa ko (I will return. I just have to take a breather),” he said.
His mother Esterlita, Pondol’s barangay secretary, wished Sangre would find a job here in the country because she still fears for his safety.
“Sa hunahuna lang gyod nako, kon akoy magbuot, dili na nako siya pasakyon (If it were up to me, I will not let him go back). Pero nag-expect gyod ko nga mosakay siya og balik batan-on pa man siya (But I expect him to go back abroad because he’s still young),” she said.
Sangre’s girlfriend Jelyn Teves, 26, also asked him to stay close to his family.
“Niana man siya daghan siyag plano para namo (He told me he has lots of plans for us),” she said.
Sangre’s first stint working in an international ship happened in 2015. He is sixth in the brood of seven. He has an older brother, who is also a seaman.
Sangre said his memory of the incident remains vivid.
Around 6 a.m. last Sept. 22, Sangre was jolted from his sleep when the voice of mv Glarus’s captain blared in the speakers, announcing the arrival of eight armed pirates.
The attack happened around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island. Glarus was transporting wheat from Lagos to Port Harcourt in Nigeria at the time.
Sangre hid in the engine room. He and his other shipmates were forced to go out when the pirates threatened to kill their captain.
The pirates boarded the ship by using long ladders and cutting the razor wire on the deck, according to the statement sent by Glarus’s company to AFP.
The gang then destroyed several communication equipment and took 12 of the 19 crew.
Sangre said he cried while he was on board the pirates’ small boat.
Mobalik gihapon ko, uy. Mopahulay lang sa ko.
MAGDALENO SANGRE JR.
Seaman taken captive by pirates last September
When they were about three meters from mv Glarus, a pirate called his attention after realizing their small boat was overloaded.
“He told me, ‘You, small boy, you know how to swim?’” Sangre said.
Sangre jumped into the water and swam back to mv Glarus after the pirate trained his rifle at him. He was held hostage for more than an hour.
When he got back on board mv Glarus, he called his girlfriend on the satellite phone. Teves, a public school teacher in Balamban, said Sangre’s voice was calm when he told her about his experience.
“Dugay kaayo ni-sink in (It took a while to sink in),” said Teves, who then told Esterlita about Sangre’s ordeal.
Sangre returned to Cebu in the first week of October. The six other Filipino seafarers were released from captivity last Oct. 28.
Sangre went to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration 7 office in Cebu City on Friday, Nov. 9, to apply for livelihood assistance.
He was accompanied by Teves and their son, Josef Miguel, who will turn five next month.
The couple plans to wed next year.
LIFE AT SEA. Magdaleno Sangre Jr. recounts his harrowing experience off the coast of Nigeria when pirates boarded his ship and took him and 11 others captive last September.