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Thursday, July 25, 2024

DFA vows to continue efforts on release of Pinoy seafarers

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said it will continue efforts for the release of the 17 Filipino seafarers kept hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

DFA Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega also assured the families that the government has not “forgotten” the seafarers.

“I want to take this opportunity to assure the families that we haven’t forgotten about them. We are doing everything we can, although it’s not just a Philippine issue, it’s a global issue,” de Vega said, adding that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) continues to meet with families of the seafarers to give updates.

“And we are still working with friendly governments if they could be released but the Houthis are consistent in their statement that it would need an end to the war in Gaza before they will release the ship and the seafarers,” he said.

De Vega also confirmed the seafarers’ well-being and ability to reach out to their families.

President Marcos Jr. previously echoed this commitment, emphasizing the safety of the Filipinos.

The Filipino seafarers were captured in November when Houthi rebels seized the Bahamas-flagged cargo ship Galaxy Leader, taking 25 crew members hostage. The rebels acted in retaliation to the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

This incident underscores the constant risks Filipino seafarers face, de Vega said.

Filipinos comprise nearly a quarter of the global maritime workforce, with roughly 490,000 currently at sea.

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