Houthis attack 6th Filipino-crewed ship in Middle East | Global News
MARCOS ORDERS RESCUE

Houthis attack 6th Filipino-crewed ship in Middle East

President Marcos has ordered government agencies to find a way to rescue and bring home the Filipino seafarers aboard the bulk carrier M/V Tutor, the sixth Filipino-crewed vessel to be attacked in Middle East waters since November.

“To our Filipino seafarers aboard M/V Tutor which was bombed, and don’t know what to do … We are doing everything we can. We are coordinating with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations and we are looking for ways to bring you to Djibouti,” he said in a video from the Palace press office.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations in Dubai coordinates and exchanges information on merchant traffic in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf, and often releases warnings on maritime activity in the Middle East.

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Early Friday morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed in a statement that the Greek-owned, Liberian-flagged bulk carrier was attacked by Houthi rebels on June 12 while sailing in the Red Sea.

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Hours later, Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Cacdac said the merchant ship had 22 crew members who were “predominantly Filipino” and one was still missing after the attack.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said it would review its policy on Filipino seafarers after the attack on the Tutor.

“The ship was hit at a delicate spot and the engine room was flooded. Right now, we are still in the process of trying to account for the one particular seafarer on that ship and we’re praying that we [can] find him,” Cacdac said.

The other Filipino crew members were “safe and sound” but were still onboard the ship and needed to be rescued, he said.

In March, the DMW issued Department Order (DO) No.1 which laid down guidelines for Filipino seafarers on merchant vessels plying “high-risk areas” and “war-like zones.”

READ: 2 Filipino sailors killed in Houthi missile attack

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The order is distinct from DO 2 which prohibits Filipinos from working on passenger and cruise vessels plying the waters of the Middle East.

DO 1 obliged crewing agencies to inform Filipinos of their right to refuse to sail in such dangerous waters and extend the appropriate benefits if they agree to do so.

But, according to Cacdac, the Filipino crew members “consented” to joining the voyage through the Red Sea.

Five other vessels

Filipinos on commercial vessels have been collateral victims in hostilities in the Middle East since November, when Houthi rebels in Yemen hijacked the Japanese-owned vehicle carrier Galaxy Leader, which had 17 Filipino crewmen.

The crewmen are still being held hostage and the DFA said it was not expecting the crew’s immediate release because their demands were political.

In January, Iran seized the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker St. Nikolas and its 18 Filipino crew members in the Gulf of Oman. The seafarers were released in batches.

In March, two Filipino seafarers who were part of the crew of the commercial ship True Confidence were the first fatalities reported since the Houthi rebels launched their attacks.

In April, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the MV Aries on April 13, but Iranian authorities released the crew, including four Filipinos, in May.

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Last month, the Houthis attacked the Greek-owned and Panamanian-flagged oil tanker M/V Wind with an antiship missile near Hodeida in Yemen. Fortunately, the Wind’s 23 all-Filipino crew was able to repair the ship and they proceeded to their destination.

TAGS: Filipino, Houthi Rebels, Marcos

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