21 PH crewmen rescued from ship struck by Houthi rebels

21 PH crewmen rescued from ship struck by Houthi rebels

/ 05:30 AM June 16, 2024

21 PH crewmen rescued from ship struck by Houthi rebels

Migrant Workers Sec. Hans Leo Cacdac —Arnel Tacson/INQUIRER.net file photo

MANILA, Philippines — All but one of the 22 Filipino crew members aboard the Houthi-hit merchant ship MV Tutor were rescued on Friday evening, hours after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered all concerned agencies to find a way to bring them to safety.

“Around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. last night, combined international forces conducted a rescue [operation] there and they (the 21 crew members) were extracted from the ship,” Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac said at a press briefing on Saturday, quoting the Tutor’s captain.


The government is coordinating with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) to take the seafarers to Djibouti and bring them back home.


READ: Houthis attack 6th Filipino-crewed ship in Middle East

Cacdac said efforts are ongoing to find the remaining crew member.

“We are still searching for him. Late [Friday] afternoon, I accompanied the family of the missing seafarer to the office of the manning agency and I met the shipowner’s agent there and we were assured that [they] will not stop, not cease in terms of locating our missing seafarer who is just within the ship,” the Migrant Workers chief said.

Severe flooding, damage

On June 12, Houthi rebels off the western coast of Yemen hit the Liberia-flagged Tutor with drones and missiles.

The attack near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room and left the coal carrier unable to maneuver.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) reported that 21 seafarers were “safe and sound,” but one crew member happened to be in the engine room during the attack and is still missing.


Filipino seafarers on commercial vessels have become collateral victims in ships targeted by the Iran-aligned Yemeni group.

The Houthi rebels called their offensive a “campaign” in solidarity with the besieged Palestinians in the war in Gaza. The campaign in the Red Sea region has disrupted global shipping, cascading delays and costs through supply chains.

The militants have so far sunk one ship, seized another vessel and killed three seafarers in separate strikes since November last year.

The Tutor is the third vessel operated by a Filipino crew to be attacked by the rebels, not the sixth as earlier reported on Friday.

‘Consent to sail’

In March, the DMW issued Department Order No. 1, which laid down guidelines for seafarers on commercial ships plying high-risk routes, specifically the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden. The order mandated crew agencies to inform Filipinos of their right to refuse to sail in such risky areas and to extend the appropriate benefits if they agree to do so.

According to Cacdac, the Tutor crew had “consented” to joining the voyage at the Red Sea.

“Not only did they not refuse, they also wrote their consent to sail,” he said.

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Nevertheless, Cacdac said the DMW will revisit its deployment guidelines on vessels in high-risk areas.

TAGS: Hans Leo Cacdac, Houthi Rebels

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