32 Filipinos in 2 stricken tankers rescued
Thirty-two Filipino seafarers were rescued from two oil tankers attacked and disabled on June 13 while sailing through the Gulf of Oman, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday.
“The Philippines expresses its appreciation to friendly governments for the rescue of Filipino seafarers. At the same time, the Philippine government condemns the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport and on the oil tankers. Attacks on civilian installations and commercial shipping can never be justified,” the DFA said in a statement.
“In the broader context of rising tensions within the region, the Philippine government urges all parties to exercise calm, patience and restraint, and resolve differences through peaceful dialogue and consultations to prevent further regrettable incidents from occurring,” the statement added.
Eleven crew members from MT Front Altair were repatriated and given assistance upon arrival on Wednesday at Ninoy Aquino International Airport by representatives from the DFA, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and their manning agency.
There were no details yet when the crew from the other ship, the Kokuka Courageous, would also be repatriated.
When attacked, the Norwegian-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair was carrying a cargo of ethanol from Qatar bound for Taiwan, while the Singapore-owned, Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous was heading for Singapore from Saudi Arabia with a cargo of methanol.
The incident occurred a day after a missile attack on the Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, with suspected Houthi rebels from Yemen claiming responsibility.
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