'Right to refuse' online forms for PH seafarers available soon

‘Right to refuse’ online forms for PH seafarers available soon–DMW

/ 01:19 PM March 20, 2024

DMW building gulf of aden hra

Photo by ABC

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino seafarers navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden may soon be able to directly report their refusal to traverse these areas to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) through an online portal.

This comes after two separate incidents involving Filipino workers occurred in the bodies of water which were previously declared “warlike” by the International Bargaining Forum (IBF).


In a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, DMW officer-in-charge (OIC) Hans Cacdac told reporters that the agency is in the process of developing an online registry where Filipino seafarers can declare their “right to refuse sailing” when they become aware of their ships’ plans to navigate the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden.


READ: DMW assures seafarers’ right to refuse deployment to high-risk areas 

“At the DMW, we affirm the seafarers’ right to refuse sailing upon knowledge of their ships intention to pass through or navigate the Red Sea. The DMW shall have an electronic portal and registry of such seafarers’ exercise of their right to refuse sailing,” Cacdac said.

Downloadable “right to refuse sailing” forms will soon be available at the DMW’s website, he added.

The forms will also be provided to licensed manning agencies for distribution to seafarers.

“In real time, we want to gather the accomplished right to refuse sailing of seafarers who have decided to refuse sailing upon knowledge that his ship or her ship will pass through the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden,” the DMW official explained.

A hotline will also be available for seafarers who wish to inform the DMW of their refusal to sail along the warlike zones.


“Because there might be seafarers who refuse to sail but fear reprisal if they fill out the form. So, there’s a hotline where the seafarer can call and declare their right to refuse sailing,” Cacdac mentioned.

The DMW also assured seafarers that there will be no discrimination against those who will exercise their right to refuse.

READ: 2 Filipino sailors killed, 2 severely hurt in Houthi missile attack 


According to the IBF, which is the forum that brings together shipping companies and maritime employers, seafarers sailing in a “warlike zone” would be entitled to the following benefits:

  • Bonus equal to basic wage, payable for five days minimum plus per day if longer;
  • Doubled compensation for death and disability;
  • Right to refuse sailing, with repatriation at company’s cost and compensation equal to two month’s basic wage; and
  • Mandatory requirement to increase security arrangements equivalent to International Ship and Port Facility Security – Level 3.

While there are benefits to agreeing to sail through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Cacdac emphasized that “seafarers’ lives are more precious than cargo.”

He also said that despite engaging in talks with the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council calling on ship owners and manning agencies to avoid the two bodies of water altogether, it is ultimately the call of those companies whether to ply the route.

READ: 11 Filipino survivors of Houthi attack on ship back in PH 

Tragedy at sea

The IBF declared the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as “warlike zones” on March 19 following a Houthi attack on the bulk carrier True Confidence on March 6 which killed three crewmen, two of which were Filipinos.

Another incident, on November 19 of last year, saw 17 Filipinos from the cargo ship, Galaxy Leader, being taken hostage also by Houthi rebels.

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While the 13 Filipinos who survived the missile attack on True Confidence have returned to the Philippines, the hostages from Galaxy Leader are yet to be freed.

TAGS: DMW, Filipino seafarers

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