News Release

DMW mulls policy against sailing Red Sea

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is now studying a policy prohibiting vessels from sailing the Red Sea amid recent incidents involving Filipino seafarers being attacked by Houthi rebels.

“In light of this recent incident, we are reviewing this current policy. So, just give us some time to review the policy. Just give us the room to review the policy,” DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac told reporters on the sidelines of the Saturday news forum in Quezon City.

Cacdac said they can’t determine yet the timeline for the matter as they still have to consult with their partners. A careful study of the current situation with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is also needed, he said.

He admitted they can’t implement an outright ban against sailing in the Red Sea as they can’t stop commerce. But he said Filipino seafarers were already told to assert their right to refuse sailing in the Red Sea.

“We had directed the ships carrying Filipino seafarers to divert. Ngayon, mayroong right to refuse sailing. ‘Yan ang declaration din in partnership with the International Bargaining Forum that should be honored,” he said.

Houthi rebel groups attacked 17 Filipino seafarers onboard Galaxy Leader on November 11 while 13 other seafarers were attacked by the same group onboard the True Confidence on March 11, two of whom were killed.

On Wednesday, 22 Filipino seafarers were onboard MV Tutor when they were attacked by the same group. At least 21 were rescued while one remains missing.

Cacdac said they are now closely coordinating with the DFA to ensure the safety of the affected Filipino seafarers. |PND