The Philippine government says the 23-member crew of a Spanish-owned oil tanker hijacked off West Africa is reported to be safe so far. At least 14 crew members are Filipinos.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday that the ship's local recruitment agency reported the crew is safe and their families have been informed about the hijacking.
The Spanish owners said Thursday they had not heard from the ship since it was hijacked the previous day as it idled 62 nautical miles (100 kilometers) from Benin's capital Cotonou, and are hoping pirates just want to steal the crude rather than seek ransom for the crew.
Five Spaniards and two Ukrainians are also aboard.
Pirates are separately holding 14 other Filipino seamen in West Africa.