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DMW: 2 Pinoy seafarers onboard another attacked vessel now safe

Metro Manila, November 28 ------ The two Filipino seafarers who were among the crew onboard another vessel attacked by an unknown armed group in the Gulf of Aden are now safe, a government official said. Migrant Workers officer-in-charge Hans Leo Cacdac confirmed that another hijacking incident happened, this time involving a Liberian-flag chemical tanker. "The latest report that we got, there were US Navy forces in the area that thwarted the hijacking. The ship itself is now free and so is the crew," he said. The official added that the hijackers were pursued by the US forces. "We're just trying to further confirm this because it is a welcome development," Cacdac said.

This marked a second incident where Filipino sailors were put at risk amid the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East. Last week, news emerged about a vessel, including 17 Filipino seafarers, held hostage by Yemen's Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. The Houthis are believed to be members of the so-called "axis of resistance" led by Iran, which has been mobilized to oppose Israeli power.

Negotiations continue for the release of the 17 Filipino seafarers, officials said. Amid these recent incidents, Cacdac said the DMW has recommended to maritime stakeholders to expand the high-risk zones in Red Sea areas. "There is already a high-risk area dahil ito ay haven of piracy. We have proposed the high-risk zones. Ibig sabihin nun, there will be a fair warning on the part of seafarers that they will be joining a voyage in high-risk zones," he said.

Cacdac said compensation and benefits of those seafarers may also double. Reacting to the news, Sen. Imee Marcos called on the DMW and Department of Foreign Affairs to deploy a long-term strategy for the release of hostaged Filipino sailors. She said Monday that Filipino seafarers “now face higher risks” amid the expanded conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. “Israel's attacks in Gaza could draw in more militant groups seeking to avenge the deaths of thousands of Palestinians,” she said. "There's no end in sight to this conflict and more Filipino seafarers could become collateral damage. The ongoing truce to release hostages on both sides is temporary," the lawmaker added.



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