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Filipino Crew Safe After Houthi Rebel Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea

Filipino Crew Safe After Houthi Rebel Attack on Cargo Ship in Red Sea

MANILA – In a concerning incident, 27 Filipino crew members of the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated cargo carrier M/V Transworld Navigator were targeted by Houthi rebels while navigating the Red Sea on Sunday.

According to Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac, the ship was hit three times by uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) used by the Houthi rebels, but it was not immobilized and was able to continue its voyage.

“It was not immobilized, the ship was able to continue, it was able to sail and the 27 crew on board were saved. The vessel sustained no serious damage,” Cacdac said in a radio interview.

This is the fourth attack on shipping vessels with Filipino crew members traversing the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, a strategic but dangerous waterway off the coast of Yemen. Previous incidents have resulted in hostage situations, casualties, and even a missing crew member.

Cacdac stated that the 27 seafarers of M/V Transworld Navigator are now safe in an undisclosed location and will likely be repatriated, as they have experienced the trauma of a direct attack.

The Department of Migrant Workers is now reviewing its policies to ensure the safety of Filipino seafarers navigating these high-risk areas (HRAs). Cacdac emphasized the need for shipowners to divert voyages or provide maritime security escorts, as well as the importance of giving Filipino workers the “right to refuse sailing” if they feel unsafe.

The Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack on M/V Transworld Navigator and another vessel, Stolt Sequoia, in the Indian Ocean, stating that these were acts of solidarity with Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

As the Philippines continues to grapple with the safety of its overseas workers, this latest incident underscores the need for heightened security measures and international cooperation to protect mariners navigating the treacherous waters of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.