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'NO INTENTION TO HARM' | DFA: 17 Filipinos in hijacked cargo ship safe

'NO INTENTION TO HARM' | DFA: 17 Filipinos in hijacked cargo ship safe
Nov 25, 2023,

THE 17 Filipino seafarers who have been held hostage by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in a hijacked Israel-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea were safe, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, November 24, 2023.

"It is the ship that was targeted. It just so happened there were Filipino crew there," said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega in a television interview.

He said the Houthi rebels have said that they have no intention to harm the Filipinos.

De Vega also assured the families of the 17 Filipino seafarers that the Philippine government is monitoring the situation.

The hijacked ship is operated by Japanese company Nippon Yusen K.K.

In a statement Thursday, the Houthis said the seizure of the vessel is in support of the Palestinians who were being “massacred” by Israel. They threatened to continue hijacking ships related to Israel, noting that no vessel should engage with Israel in the Red Sea.

Aboard the ship were 25 crew members, including the Filipinos, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Mexican and Romanian.

The Japanese government said earlier that it "decisively condemns such an act," adding that they are already working with relevant countries for the release of the ship and especially of its crew.

Among those hostage was 41-year-old seafarer Leonardo Flores, a native of Pavia town in Iloilo and currently a resident of Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.

Charlie Flores, Leonardo's brother, earlier said that their family is worried about his safety. (SunStar Philippines)