US says missing PH sailor dead; DMW still hopeful | Global News

US says missing PH sailor dead; DMW still hopeful

/ 05:40 AM June 19, 2024

Remains of 2 OFWs from Middle East to arrive in PH on Saturday — DMW

Inquirer file photo

MANILA, Philippines — The White House has said that a Filipino sailor was killed when Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked the bulk cargo carrier MV Tutor on June 12, as it also condemned the group’s terrorist activities.

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), however, said that as of Tuesday, the missing seafarer was still considered “missing.”


“A few days ago, the Houthis attacked the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated bulk cargo carrier merchant vessel Tutor, killing a crew member who hailed from the Philippines,” US White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said at a news briefing.


READ: 21 PH crewmen rescued from ship struck by Houthi rebels

Kirby said the vessel “had just completed a port call in Russia and was bound for Egypt” and had “nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza.”

“The Houthis killed an innocent crew member from the Philippines and critically wounded a Sri Lankan sailor who were guilty of no crimes, who were simply doing their jobs,” he said.

“They weren’t delivering arms to Israel, they weren’t taking sides in the Middle East. They were just manning their posts aboard a ship trying to earn a paycheck and keep global commerce moving,” he added.

“This is pure terrorism. There’s simply no other word for it. The Houthi claim of supporting Gazans is meritless,” Kirby told reporters.

In a separate Houthi attack on June 13 on the MV Verbena, a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated ship, the US official said a Sri Lankan crew member was left critically wounded.


The Iran-backed rebel group has launched dozens of drone and missile strikes in vital shipping zones of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November, describing them as retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war.

Search to be conducted

In a statement on Tuesday, the DMW said it remains hopeful and in touch with the family of the missing seafarer.

“The Philippine Embassy in Athens under Ambassador Giovanni Palec met with the MV Tutor’s shipping principal, who informed Ambassador Palec that search operations for our missing seafarer shall be undertaken as soon as the ship is taken to a safe port,” it said.

Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Cacdac had said the bulk carrier had 22 Filipino crew members and one was reported missing after the Houthi attack on June 12.

The 21 Filipinos were rescued two days later by US naval forces and arrived in Manila on June 17.

During a press briefing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, ship captain Christian Domarique said their vessel was approached by a boat carrying bombs and two dummies before the attack.

They did not fire on it because, from a distance, it seemed like a fishing boat with two people on board, he added. The boat, however, triggered a powerful explosion that damaged the bulk carrier as it was sailing in the “war-like zone” in the Red Sea, near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

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The explosion was then followed by a drone missile attack, causing severe flooding and damage to the MV Tutor’s engine room, where the missing crew member was believed to be beforehand. During the rescue operation, however, nobody was found in the engine room.

TAGS: Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Houthi Rebels, White House

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