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Friday, July 26, 2024

2 Pinoy seamen killed by Houthi fire still on ship

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THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said the remains of the two Filipino seafarers who were killed in a missile attack by the Houthi rebel group are expected to be retrieved soon as their ship reaches Oman.

The DFA also said nine Filipino seafarers from an oil tanker seized by Iran’s Navy arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, while two more are expected to arrive within this week.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said the bodies of the two deceased Filipinos are still onboard the MV True Confidence, days after it was struck on Mar.  6 while traversing the Gulf of Aden. The Barbados-flagged bulk carrier is currently being towed to a port in Oman

“The ship is being towed because it was set on fire after it was struck by a missile. It is being towed to the Port of Duqm in Oman where the bodies can be recovered. There will be a salvage operation and a search will be made for the remains of the two Filipinos so they can be sent home,” De Vega said.

Among those aboard the Greek-owned vessel were 15 Filipinos. The 13 Filipino crewmen who survived the attack were transported to Djibouti onboard an Indian warship.

Eleven of the surviving Pinoys will be returning to Manila on Tuesday. As confirmed by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

“We are preparing a fitting welcome for our brave seafarers upon their arrival,” DMW officer-in-charge Hans Leo J. Cacdac said.

“Two are still injured. They are still in the hospital but their condition is improving. They will be able to come home eventually,” De Vega said.

The DMW said the two injured Filipinos will be repatriated to the Philippines as soon as they are medically certified as “fit for travel.”

According to the DFA official, it has issued travel documents to the returning crew members, whose flight arrangements are being managed by their shipping and manning agencies.

The 11th returning crew member suffered minor injuries during the emergency evacuation of the ship.

Two of the remaining Filipino crew members of the True Confidence remain in a hospital in Djibouti City.

Their condition is stable and being monitored by medical professionals. They will be repatriated to the Philippines as soon as they are medically certified as “fit for travel.”

Meanwhile, recovery operations are underway for the retrieval of the remains of three crew members, two of them Filipino, who died in the missile attack.

“We pray for the success of the salvaging operation so that the remains of our two fallen seafarers can be repatriated. As we continue to express our condolences and prayers to their families,” Cacdac said.

The DFA issued the travel documents to the returning crew members, whose flight arrangements are being managed by their shipping and manning agencies.

De Vega said the two other Filipinos will leave either by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Six other Filipinos remaining under Iran’s custody are awaiting replacements before returning to the Philippines.

“They are not hostages per se, because they volunteered to be left there because of the double salary offer so out of their own free will, they willingly stayed there,” De Vega said, in an interview with ABS-CBN News on Sunday.

Some 18 Filipino crew of St. Nikolas tanker were in the custody of Iran’s Navy after the tanker’s seizure in January of this year.

The seizure by Iran’s Navy was done in retaliation for the confiscation last year of the same vessel and its oil by the United States.

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