DFA: 17 sailors held hostage ‘in good condition’

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
DFA: 17 sailors held hostage �in good condition�
A grab from handout footage released by Yemen's Huthi Ansarullah Media Centre on Nov. 19, 2023, reportedly shows members of the rebel group during the capture of an Israel-linked cargo vessel at an undefined location in the Red Sea. Israeli ships are a "legitimate target", Yemen's Huthi rebels warned on November 20, a day after their seizure of the Galaxy Leader and its 25 international crew following an earlier threat to target Israeli shipping over the Israel-Hamas war.
AFP / Ansarullah Media Centre

MANILA, Philippines — The 17 Filipino seafarers being held hostage in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi militants are expected to be freed soon, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“Government sources say that the hostages are in good condition, and will eventually be released. Efforts are ongoing for this to happen as soon as possible,” the DFA said in a statement yesterday.

This developed as President Marcos canceled at the last minute his attendance at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) to work on the safe release of the Filipinos.

“In light of important developments in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea, I have made the decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai tomorrow (Friday),” Marcos said in a post on his official X account at 8:22 a.m. yesterday, more than an hour before his scheduled departure. Marcos did not arrive at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, where he was scheduled to deliver a departure speech at around 9:45 a.m. Marcos did not provide additional details in his post on X.

He said he was to meet with his officials yesterday to discuss the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran to extend assistance to the Filipino seamen.

“Today, I will be convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran, with the aim of providing necessary assistance to our seafarers,” he said.

The 17 Filipinos were among the 25 crewmen of the cargo vessel Galaxy Leader seized by Houthi militants in the southern Red Sea on Nov. 19. The other crewmembers of the cargo ship were Ukrainians and Mexicans.

Satellite imagery released on Nov. 28 showed the Galaxy Leader near Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the seizure of the ship was in response to the “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank.”

The Bahamas-flagged, British-owned Galaxy Leader reportedly has links to Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar, and is operated by a Japanese firm. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied the ship has Israel links. - Helen Flores

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with