One of the 23 seafarers freed by Somali pirates after a 36-day ordeal is missing, XPRESS has learnt.

In an exclusive interview, Captain Mike Magcale, president of Seacrest Maritime Management, which provided the crew to the Japanese-owned chemical tanker MV Golden Nori, said, "We still don't know what happened to Second Officer Loreto Quilez. The family has already been informed about the incident."

The ship dropped anchor about nine miles off Fujairah on Monday after it was released on December 3 and sailed for nine days from East African waters.

Magcale said the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Quilez, a Filipino, were not clear. A Korean crew member who jumped overboard shortly after the pirates boarded the ship on October 28 was rescued by a passing ship.

Magcale said the crew members were aware of the distance they had to keep from Somalia as they were taking flammable benzene from Singapore to the Mediterranean.

"They were aware of this rule and were well out of the [200-mile] limit. But the pirates seem to have increased in sophistication," he said.

The rest of the crew – eight Filipinos, two Koreans and 12 Burmese – are in "high spirits" and preparing to go home, said Magcale. It was not clear whether ransom was paid.

Ship's log:

October 28: A gang of Somali pirates seize chemical tanker MV Golden Nori, loaded with highly flammable substance benzene. Pirates demand $1 million (Dh3.67 million) ransom money. US Navy fires on pirates' speedboats, sinking two

October 31: The ship's Filipino captain contacts his family and tells them he and his crew are in "good condition"

November 4: A monitoring station in Sweden picks up the ship's distress signal and relays the call to the International Piracy Reporting Centre in Malaysia

December 3: Pirates release the MV Golden Nori