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DMW says 'proof of life' show 18 Pinoy seafarers safe in Iran

DMW says 'proof of life' show 18 Pinoy seafarers safe in Iran
Zen Hernandez Jan 18 2024

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Thursday said it has received positive news that the 18 Filipino seafarers in the custody of Iran are safe and unharmed.

According to DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Leo Cacdac, they were sent a photo as proof of life.

“I just cannot share the photo but there has been a proof of life photo that has been shown to us. So they are safe and unharmed and we're praying very hard, it won't be long that they will be safely home…We're thankful to the DFA," said Cacdac.

"They have opened up the strong lines of communication with the Iranian authorities, who in turn have assured us that the seafarers are safe and unharmed. On the part of the DMW, we have also opened the lines of communication with all of the families of the 18 seafarers.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs also made a request to the Iranian government to allow the Philippines' representatives to visit the seafarers.

The 18 Filipino seafarers were part of a 19-man crew on board oil tanker St. Nikolas, which was seized by Iran in the Gulf of Oman six days ago.

The Iranian Navy said that the seizure was in retaliation of the United States prior confiscation of the same vessel with its cargo of Iranian oil.


Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts also continue for the 17 Filipino seafarers being held captive by Houthi rebels in the port of Hodeidah in Yemen.

The Filipino seafarers were part of a 25-man crew on the car carrier Galaxy Leader, which was raided by the Houthis on November 19, 2023. The Houthis have carried out a series of maritime attacks in the Red Sea since then, as it demanded for a stop to the Israeli war in Gaza.

“Efforts are still underway to talk to the foreign governments who are helping us. I think the DFA had already mentioned the Omani government helping us…. We cannot project a timeline as yet, so that we don't heighten too much the expectations of families,” Cacdac said.