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Houthi Rebel Missile Attack Claims Lives of Two Filipino Seafarers in Gulf of Aden

Houthi rebel Missile Attack Claims Lives of Two Filipino Seafarers in Gulf of Aden

GULF OF ADEN – In a tragic incident that has sent shockwaves through the maritime community, a Houthi missile attack on a bulk carrier navigating the Gulf of Aden has resulted in the deaths of three seafarers, two of whom have been identified as Filipinos, according to a statement from the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

The DMW expressed its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen seafarers, withholding their names and identities to respect privacy. The attack also left three other Filipinos seriously injured, as confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Efforts are now underway to gather information about the remaining Filipino crew members, who have reportedly been taken to a “safe port.” The DMW has assured full support and assistance to all affected seafarers, stating that it is working closely with the ship’s principal owner and manning agency to facilitate the repatriation of the crew.

This devastating incident has prompted the DMW to reiterate its call for ship owners to avoid high-risk areas, particularly the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels have concentrated their maritime attacks. The department has also appealed for diplomatic efforts to address the ongoing Middle East conflict, which serves as the backdrop for these attacks.

In the wake of the attack, injured seafarers from the vessel MV True Confidence have been brought to Djibouti for medical treatment. According to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega, three injured Filipinos, one of whom suffered burns on the face and another who had to undergo amputation due to injuries, are now hospitalized in Djibouti. The remaining crew members were forced to abandon the ship, which was engulfed in flames after being hit by a Houthi missile.

The vessel’s crew consisted of 15 Filipinos, four Vietnamese, and one Indian national. Efforts are underway to bring assistance to the injured and establish contact with the families of the victims. The bodies of the deceased seafarers are still on board the ship.

In light of the situation, the Philippine Embassy in Cairo will dispatch representatives to Djibouti to provide support to their fellow countrymen. The urgency of the situation has complicated matters, as many crew members were forced to leave behind their documentation in the rush to escape the burning vessel.

The DMW’s appeal for diplomatic efforts to address the Middle East conflict gains further urgency, as this recent attack is part of a series carried out by Houthi rebels. The first victim was the car carrier Galaxy Leader, which had 17 Filipinos on board and whose crew members are currently being held hostage in Yemen. The resolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants is seen as crucial for the release of these seafarers.

In a glimmer of hope amidst the grim news, Undersecretary de Vega shared a positive development regarding Filipino seafarers on board the ship St. Nikolas, which was seized by the Iranian Navy. Following the release of one of the 18 Filipino seafarers in February, 11 others are expected to return to the Philippines. Nine of them will fly to Dubai and then proceed to Manila on Sunday, while the remaining two are scheduled to fly home on March 13. Only six Filipinos remain on the St. Nikolas, and de Vega expressed optimism that they will soon be reunited with their families.

As the maritime community mourns the loss of lives and prays for the speedy recovery of the injured, the urgent need for diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions and address the root causes of the Middle East conflict has come to the forefront. The safety and well-being of seafarers, who play a crucial role in global trade, must be prioritized to prevent further tragedies like this from occurring on the high seas.