Filipino seafarers hit by Russian missile to be repatriated
MANILA, Philippines — Filipino seafarers who were on board the vessel that was hit by a Russian missile in the Black Sea are set to be repatriated, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Sunday.
DMW officer in charge Undersecretary Hans Cacdac, in a radio interview, said they were already coordinating with the manning agency for the crew members’ immediate repatriation.
“Since the ship has been hit, we believe it would be better if they are temporarily brought home to their families,” Cacdac said.
“We are arranging for their repatriation since they had experienced an unusual situation. Hopefully, in due time, they are able to come home,” he added.
Cacdac said the agency was able to talk with the Filipino crew members through video conferencing.
“We were able to talk to them and personally heard from them that they are safe and in good condition,” he said.
According to him, the Liberian-flagged civilian vessel hit by the missile was boarded by an all-Filipino crew.
Three of the 24 crew members were hurt following the incident.
One of the three injured, an engine trainee, had a fracture on his left hand. He was immediately brought to a hospital and had a successful operation, Cacdac said, adding that the two others only suffered minor injuries.
“The three were the only ones hurt since they were at the bridge when the attack happened,” the DMW official said.
39 Pinoys at border
Meanwhile, Cacdac said the 39 Filipinos who were still in war-torn Gaza were expected to cross the Rafah border to Egypt “as soon as possible.”
Many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Israel remain reluctant to seek repatriation assistance from the Philippine government despite the high-security threat, according to Cacdac.
“Many of our OFWs in Israel have been there for a long time. They are already used to the culture and tradition there. This is probably why they are still choosing to stay,” he said.
“Most of them are caregivers so they have this responsibility to care for the elders,” he added.
According to the DMW, a seventh batch of OFWs is set to arrive today (Monday) via Etihad Airways flight EY424 from Israel.
“To date, we have 37 OFWs onboard this flight,” it said in its advisory.
Cacdac said they would continue to offer the repatriation program to all the OFWs in Israel.
“The numbers of those seeking repatriation are still going up so our efforts will just continue,” he said, adding that a total of 184 OFWs from Israel have already been repatriated in batches.
Cacdac said they would continue to offer repatriation to the OFWs in other conflict-hit areas.
Nine OFWs from Lebanon are expected to arrive in Manila later in the week, he said, noting that 20 OFWs from the country have already been repatriated over the weekend.