4 Pinoys among crew of ship seized by Iran

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
4 Pinoys among crew of ship seized by Iran
This image grab taken from a UGC video posted on social media on April 13, 2024 shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards rappelling down onto a container ship named, MSC Aries, near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Saturday seized a container ship "related to the Zionist regime (Israel) in the Gulf," state media reported, as tensions soar in the region.

MANILA, Philippines — Four Filipino seafarers are among those on board the container ship MSC Aries seized by Iranian forces on Saturday, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has confirmed.

“Upon directive of the President, we are in touch with the families of our dear seafarers and have assured them of full government support and assistance,” the DMW said yesterday in a statement.

It added that it is closely working with the Department of Foreign Affairs, licensed manning agency, ship manager and operator to ensure the safety and release of the four Filipino seafarers.

Based on new reports, Iranian forces seized the MSC Aries via a helicopter raid as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, last Saturday.

The MSC Aries, though registered in Portugal, is said to have links to Israel. The shipping company MSC said in its report that the container ship had been boarded by “Iranian authorities.”

The DMW previously issued guidelines allowing Filipino seafarers to refuse to board a vessel passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which were declared warlike areas.

Despite the policy, DMW officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac said there are Filipino seafarers who are still willing to board vessels cruising areas that are classified as warlike and high-risk.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to government officials yesterday to exhaust all diplomatic measures to safely bring home the four Filipinos. — Evelyn Macairan

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