Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr orders support for families of seafarers in Red Sea attacks

2024 May 25

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to support the families of 20 Filipino mariners affected by the Red Sea attacks.

“We are handholding the families as directed by the President,” DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

Three Filipino seafarers were on board container ship MSC Aries when it was seized by Iranian authorities on April 13 while roll-on/roll-off vehicle carrier Galaxy Leader had 17 Filipino sailors when attacked by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in November last year.

Cacdac said the Filipinos are safe and sound, adding that the DMW has been constantly meeting with families of the sailors.

He said the three Filipino crew of MSC Aries are expected to be home anytime soon while the 17 Filipinos in Galaxy Leader are in stable condition.

MSC Aries’s 25-man crew includes Indian, Pakistani, Russian and Estonian nationals. Galaxy Leader also has two Bulgarians, three Ukrainians, two Mexicans and a Romanian.

The Filipinos are constantly communicating with their loved ones in the Philippines, Cacdac added.

Cacdac likewise thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs for its unwavering support to ensure the safety of the Filipino seafarers and its close coordination with Iranian authorities along with the local manning agency as far as the three Filipino seafarers of MSC Aries are concerned.

Despite the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden incidents, the Philippines recorded an all-time high deployment of Filipino seafarers in 2023.

Noong 2023, naka-all time high tayo. Lagpas sa limang daang libo kaya’t ang ating demand for maritime seafarers ay patuloy (It was an all-time high in 2023. We breached 500,000 so the demand for Filipino seafarers continue),” Cacdac said.

In another development, Cacdac said the DMW is continuously implementing the PHP2.8 billion action fund intended for around 88,000 overseas Filipino workers who sought help from the government’s Assistance to Nationals Program since August 2022.