21 Filipino seafarers rescued from Houthi-hit ship

Kristine Daguno-Bersamina - Philstar.com
21 Filipino seafarers rescued from Houthi-hit ship
This handout picture courtesy of the US Navy taken on October 19, 2023 shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) defeating a combination of Houthi missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Red Sea.
Photo by Aaron Lau / US Navy / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The  Department of Migrant Workers reported that 21 out of 22 Filipino seafarers aboard the MV Tutor, which was attacked by Houthi rebels, were rescued on Friday evening.

Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac confirmed that the rescue happened between 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, just hours after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered government agencies to ensure the safety of the seafarers.

International forces carried out the extraction, moving the seafarers to a security vessel that transported them to a safer port.

“I saw that they are all safe and sound. Nobody was harmed,” Cacdac said during a news forum in Quezon City, adding that all seafarers will undergo medical check-up.

He assured the public that the chief executive is closely monitoring the situation.

“The president is elated over this development. And having said that, ‘yung utos ng ating Pangulo na hanapin ‘yung nag-iisang seafarer onboard the MV Tutor,” Cacdac said.

(The president is elated over this development. And having said that, the order of the president is to search for the one seafarer (still missing) onboard the MV Tutor.)

The DMW official said that the government is doing everything to locate the missing seafarer, who was last seen in the engine room during the attack.

The family of the missing seafafer has been informed and is being kept updated on the ongoing search efforts.

“I accompanied the family of the missing seafarer to the office of the manning agency and I met the ship owner’s agent there and we were assured that we will not stop in terms of locating our missing seafarer who is just within the ship,” Cacdac said.

“The president has clearly directed us to monitor the situation as well as the continuing well-being of the 21 seafarers who are now headed for safer port. So, it really, really just boils down to finding, locating our seafarer who is still onboard the MV Tutor,” he added.

On Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that a Greek-owned ship with a Liberian flag, struck by a Houthi unmanned surface vessel (USV) on June 12, had Filipino crew members.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been carrying out attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as a way of showing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the war between Israel and Palestine.

Filipino seafarers have found themselves embroiled in the conflict, 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. — with report by Cristina Chi

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