DMW imposes new ban to protect Pinoy sailors
AS CONCERN MOUNTS OVER HOUTHI ATTACKS IN HIGH-RISK AREAS

DMW imposes new ban to protect Pinoy sailors

/ 05:00 AM June 26, 2024

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

Inquirer file photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has prohibited Filipino seafarers from boarding ships owned by companies whose vessels were attacked while passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

“We will take corresponding action [against] the shipowners who had been involved at least in the three major attacks and will no longer allow seafarers to board the ships of these principals and shipowners,” Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Cacdac said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

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READ: Filipino sailor killed in Houthi attack on cargo ship – White House

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Cacdac was referring to Galaxy Leader, MV True Confidence and MV Tutor, which were attacked by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. The terrorist group has launched dozens of drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November, describing them as retaliation for the war waged by Israel against Hamas.

READ: 1 minor injury among 27 Filipino crew onboard MV Transworld Navigator

Affirmation letter

The DMW chief, however, clarified that it was not an “absolute prohibition,” as Filipino sailors would still be allowed to board other ships of the companies as long as they avoided the high-risk areas.

READ: Drone attack hits ship in Red Sea as Houthis announce naval assaults

Cacdac hopes to enforce the new restriction by requiring shipowners to submit an affirmation letter that they would no longer deploy Filipino seafarers to the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden.

“So they must have that affirmation letter, and there will be corresponding harsher penalties if they violate this requirement,” he said, adding that the possible penalties could include the suspension of the company or diversion to other routes.

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In the same briefing, the DMW chief reported that all 27 Filipino seafarers on the MV Transworld Navigator were unharmed, but one of them suffered minor injuries in another drone strike launched by Houthi rebels over the weekend in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen.

“They are still en route to a safer port. I will not disclose exactly where but rest assured, once they get to a safer port, we will undertake, together with the license manning agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs, their safe repatriation,” Cacdac said.

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As the DMW holds discussions with maritime stakeholders regarding increasing hostilities in war-like zones that have affected vessels with Filipino sailors, Cacdac said they would now require shipowners to submit a “threat and risk assessment” report before entering high-risk areas.

TAGS: Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), Hans Cacdac

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