Iran-Israel conflict

Filipinos aboard Iran-seized cargo ship ‘safe,’ expect release – DMW

Michelle Abad

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Filipinos aboard Iran-seized cargo ship ‘safe,’ expect release – DMW

MSC ARIES. An official slides down a rope during a helicopter raid on MSC Aries ship at sea in this screen grab obtained from a social media video released on April 13, 2024.


The Department of Migrant Workers plans to recommend to the IBF to declare the Strait of Hormuz a 'warlike zone' which gives seafarers the right to refuse sailing when their voyage heads for it

MANILA, Philippines – The four Filipino seafarers aboard the MSC Aries cargo vessel, which was seized by Iran on April 13 near the Strait of Hormuz, are “safe” and expecting to be released soon, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Tuesday, April 16.

As of midnight on Tuesday, the families of the four overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were able to speak to them via video call, according to DMW officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac.

“The four seafarers said they are fine, they are safe. And they also have been told by Iranians who came on board that they will soon be released… [we just don’t] know exactly when,” said Cacdac, who said he has personally spoken to the families.

The DMW expects to repatriate the four seafarers, who have been “eating well” and going about their usual duties on the ship, upon their release. The department does not characterize the seized ship as a hostage-taking situation.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the Israeli-linked MSC Aries for allegedly violating maritime laws. The incident preceded Iran also sending drones and missiles towards Israel, an unprecedented move to retaliate against Israeli’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1 – though Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

Israeli ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss said in an earlier briefing on Monday, April 15, that OFWs in Israel seemed to be “comfortable.”

The four seafarers’ manning agency assured Philippine authorities of adequate payment of salaries. Their families can also expect P30,000 in financial assistance from the DMW.

The DMW said it plans to recommend to the International Bargaining Forum to declare the Strait of Hormuz a warlike zone. Other areas in the region affected by the war between Israel and Hamas have been declared high-risk and warlike zones, like the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea.

Also in that category are the locations near the Russia-Ukraine war.

When a place is declared a warlike zone, seafarers who expect their voyages to pass through the zones have the right to refuse sailing, and are entitled to double pay and other benefits when they choose to embark on them. The DMW has online forms and hotlines Filipino seafarers can use when refusing to sail.

At least 25 Filipinos seafarers have signaled refusals to embark on warlike zone voyages, the DMW said on Tuesday.

Two Filipinos died in the Houthi rebels’ March 6 attack on the True Confidence ship in the Gulf of Aden, while 17 Filipinos have remained hostaged in the Galaxy Leader ship off Yemen’s coast since November 2023. The remains of the two fatalities on True Confidence have yet to be salvaged.

Cacdac gave the updates on the four seafarers on the sidelines of a “friendship week” event between the Philippines and Romania on Tuesday. Romanian ambassador to the Philippines Ráduta Dana Matache also said during the event that her country, which shares a border with Ukraine and is “spiritually and geographically close” to the Middle East, hopes for the conflicts to end.

“We wish that the wars will stop everywhere. They are not stopping right now. We feel in our hearts, in our minds, we feel the burden of the conflict in Ukraine,” said Matache in the main press briefing of the event.

The Philippines and Romania have worked closely for the release of the Galaxy Leader hostages, as one Romanian sailor is also among the crew. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Clothing, Apparel, Person


Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.