MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in Australia is monitoring the investigation into the death of a Filipino seaman whose body was discovered on a beach in Vanuatu, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

“It was in the local news there that a Filipino crew member was discovered missing from the foreign vessel as it left Vanuatu. Shortly, the body was found on the beach,” Ivy Banzon-Abalos, executive director of the DFA’s strategic communications office, said in a message to reporters.

This, in response to a query on reports that a body of a Filipino seaman was found on a beach in the Pacific island nation.

Some reports indicated that the Filipino tested positive for COVID-19 but Abalos said the DFA has yet to receive information whether the seaman was indeed positive for the coronavirus disease.

“The embassy is closely monitoring this ongoing investigation of the seaman’s death,” the DFA official said.

“The Philippine Embassy in Australia, through the Philippine Consulate General in Vanuatu, has been in touch with the manning agency which has informed the seaman’s family,” she added.

In accordance with Philippine laws, she noted that it is the local manning agency’s mandate to “ensure that the family will receive all the benefits due to the family of the deceased.”

“The local manning agency is in touch with its principal company, as well as with its local company in Vanuatu to facilitate investigation of the case,” she said.

The embassy likewise stands ready to extend appropriate assistance on the repatriation of the remains, according to Abalos. (INQ)