2 Filipino sailors killed in Houthi missile attack

2 Filipino sailors killed in Houthi missile attack

/ 05:30 AM March 08, 2024

Houthi missile attack in theRed Sea

RED SEA TARGET An aerial view of the Barbados-flagged ship True Confidence ablaze following a Houthi missile attack in the Red Sea on March 6. The commercial vessel had 15 Filipinos among its crewmen. —REUTERS

Two Filipino seafarers were killed and three others were “severely injured” in the latest attack by Houthi rebels on ships plying the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed on Thursday.

“We in the Department of Migrant Workers sincerely extend our deepest condolences to the family and kin of our slain, heroic seafarers. For reasons of privacy, we are withholding their names and identities,” the agency said in a statement.


The two sailors—part of the crew of the commercial ship True Confidence—were the first fatalities reported since the Iran-aligned Yemeni group began attacking ships plying the Red Sea in November, in what the rebels called a campaign of solidarity with Palestinians in the war in Gaza.


READ: DMW: IBF classifying Gulf of Aden as HRA to protect Filipino seafarers 

The DMW said it would extend full support to the families of the seafarers killed or injured in Wednesday’s attack, and that it had “coordinated with the principal shipowner and manning agency to work on the repatriation of the remaining Filipino crew members,” who were reportedly taken to a safe port.

Brought to Djibouti

In an update on Thursday night, the DMW said 10 other Filipino crew members of True Confidence were safe and had been accounted for.

The three who were injured were receiving medical care and were already in stable condition at hospital in Djibouti City.

The agency said it received word from the ship’s manning agency that the 10 crew members were staying at a hotel, where DMW officer in charge Hans Leo Cacdac had spoken to them via videoconference.

“An Indian Navy vessel, part of the international task force patrolling the volatile Red Sea-Gulf of Aden sealanes, rescued the crew and brought them to Djibouti,” the DMW said.


The Houthi missile attack on Wednesday set the True Confidence ablaze some 93 kilometers (50 nautical miles) off the coast of Yemen’s port of Aden.

Following the incident, the DMW urged shipowners with ships navigating the Red Sea-Gulf of Aden sealanes to strictly comply with the expanded “high-risk areas” designation. It called for the implementation of risk mitigation measures like rerouting the vessels and deploying armed security personnel onboard.

“The DMW also calls for continued diplomatic efforts to deescalate tensions and to address the causes of the current conflict in the Middle East,” it added.

17 still held hostage

The Senate condemned the fatal attack as “an act of terrorism… on civilians who are simply trying to make a living out on the seas.”

There is “no way to justify this brutality,” Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

In a statement, Zubiri extended the chamber’s “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims” and joined them “in calling for justice for their loved ones.”

The Philippines is still seeking the release of 17 Filipinos taken hostage by the Houthis in November, after the rebels seized their cargo ship—the Galaxy Leader—in the Red Sea.

Aside from Filipinos, Galaxy Leader’s 25-member crew included seafarers from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Mexico, and Romania.

Warning messages

According to the US Central Command, Wednesday’s attack saw an antiship ballistic missile striking the Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned True Confidence, which resulted in “three fatalities and at least four injuries, three of whom are in critical condition, and caused significant damage” to the ship.

The True Confidence crew also included four Vietnamese, two Sri Lankans, an Indian, and a Nepali national, according to a Reuters report.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said on social media that the vessel was targeted with missiles “after the ship’s crew rejected warning messages” from the rebels.

Last week, the UK-owned bulk carrier the Rubymar became the first ship to sink as a result of a Houthi attack, after floating for two weeks with severe damage from a missile strike. All crew were safely evacuated from the vessel.

The attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to reroute to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The cost of insuring a seven-day voyage through the Red Sea has risen by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Passage through the Red Sea usually carries around 12 percent of global trade.

While the Houthi militia has said it would attack only vessels with links to the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel, shipping industry sources say all ships could be at risk.

In a joint statement, the Liberian-registered company, True Confidence Shipping, and its Greece-based operator, Third January Maritime, said the recently attacked ship has no link to the United States.

US, UK strikes

The United States and Britain have launched repeated strikes on Huthi targets in Yemen since January in response to the ship attacks, but the rebels have continued to target merchant vessels.

The True Confidence incident comes after a Belize-flagged, Lebanese-operated ship sank on Saturday with 21,000 metric tons of ammonium phosphate sulfate fertilizer on board.

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The ship, called the Rubymar, had been taking on water since it was hit by a Houthi missile on Feb. 18 that damaged its hull and forced the evacuation of its crew to Djibouti. —With reports by Tina G. Santos, Reuters and AFP 

TAGS: attack, Filipino seafarers, Houthi Rebels, killed, Red Sea

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