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All 23 Filipino Crew Safe After Houthi Attack on Oil Tanker in Red Sea

Oil Tanker in Red Sea

MANILA – All 23 Filipino crew members aboard an oil tanker reportedly attacked by Houthi rebels off Yemen’s Red Sea coast are safe and unharmed, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed on Sunday.

The incident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. local time on May 18, when Iranian-backed Houthi forces launched an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that struck M/T Wind, a Panamanian-flagged, Greek-owned oil tanker, according to a statement by the United States Central Command (US Centcom).

“The DMW is closely coordinating with international maritime authorities, shipping companies, and local manning agencies on the status of ships with Filipino seafarers traversing high risk areas and war-like zones in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden,” the department stated.

M/T Wind had departed from Russia, carrying oil bound for China. The missile strike caused flooding on the vessel, resulting in a temporary loss of propulsion and steering. However, the crew managed to restore both functions, and no casualties were reported.

“A coalition vessel immediately responded to the distress call by M/T Wind, but no assistance was needed. The crew of M/T Wind was able to restore propulsion and steering, and no casualties were reported. M/T Wind resumed its course under its own power,” Centcom detailed.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations confirmed that the vessel and crew are safe and continuing to their next port of call, as reported by Greek news website Neos Kosmos.

“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the Centcom statement added.

US Centcom, one of 11 unified combatant commands of the US Defense Department, oversees operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia.

The prompt and effective response by the crew of M/T Wind has highlighted the resilience and preparedness of the maritime community in the face of such threats. The incident underscores the ongoing risks faced by vessels navigating these volatile waters and the critical importance of international cooperation to ensure maritime safety.