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Marcos: Gov’t working to secure release of seafarers held by Houthi rebels

Marcos: Gov’t working to secure release of seafarers held by Houthi rebels
Gaea Katreena Cabico November 23, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The government is taking every measure to ensure the safety of the 17 Filipino seafarers who were taken hostage by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said.

In a statement late Wednesday, Marcos said the Department of Foreign Affairs is in coordination with their counterparts in Iran, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia for updates, while the Department of Migrant Workers is in constant communication with the families of the hostages.

“Our seafarers are not alone. The government is doing everything in our power to bring them safely home,” Marcos said.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the Israeli-linked cargo vessel Galaxy Leader Sunday and held hostage its 25 crew members. The ship had been chartered by a Japanese group, and was flying the flag of the Bahamas.

The Houthi group said the move was in retaliation for Israel’s war against Hamas. It warned the allies of Israel Wednesday that their shipping in the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the entrance to the Red Sea is a “legitimate target.”

Bab al-Mandab is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, carrying about a fifth of global oil consumption.

Filipino mariners comprise more than 25% of 1.5 million sea-based workers worldwide, the most from any country, according to the government. — with report from Agence France-Presse