DFA condemns Houthi attack on merchant vessel with Filipino crew

DFA condemns Houthi attack on merchant vessel with Filipino crew
A grab from handout footage released by Yemen's Huthi Ansarullah Media Centre on November 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 Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday condemned Houthi rebels' attack on the merchant vessel MV Tutor sailing in the Red Sea.

The DFA confirmed in a statement that the Greek-owned but Liberian-flagged ship struck by Houthi's unmanned surface vessel (USV) on June 12 carried Filipino crew. 

In a statement, DFA Spokesperson Teresita Daza vowed to ensure the safe return of all Filipino workers on board. 

“The Philippine government will take all necessary measures to secure the safety and well-being of the Filipino crew on board and ensure justice,” Daza said. 

Daza called on all United Nations member states to "protect the human rights of seafarers."

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been doling out a series of attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden due to what they say is their show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the war between Israel and Palestine.

Filipino crew members have been caught in the crossfire of this campaign, with the Philippines being a major source of seafarers for the global maritime sector, comprising 25% of around 1.5 million sea-based workers globally.

Two Filipino seafarers were killed in March when a Houthi ballistic missile struck the M/V True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier that was traversing the Gulf of Aden at the time.

In a bid to prevent more casualties from Houthi rebels' attacks, the Department of Migrant Workers in April banned the deployment of Filipino seafarers on all ships traveling through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. 

Both areas have been designated "high-risk areas" and "war-like zones" by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Bargaining Forum (IBF). — Cristina Chi

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