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Filipino seafarers can now refuse to sail through Gulf of Aden —DMW

Filipino seafarers can now refuse to sail through Gulf of Aden —DMW
GMA Integrated News February 23, 2024

Filipino seafarers now have the right to refuse to sail through the Gulf of Aden and be repatriated instead, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) announced Friday.

DMW officer-in-charge Hans Leo Cacdac said Filipino seafarers who would refuse to sail through the Gulf of Aden would be repatriated at the company’s expense and would receive compensation equal to two months of basic wage.

The development stemmed from the International Bargaining Forum’s (IBF) decision to expand the scope of high-risk areas (HRAs) to cover the entire Gulf of Aden.

The expanded HRA now includes the entire southern section of the Red Sea and the entire Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula, stretching across to the coast of Eritrea in the Horn of Africa region of Eastern Africa.

Meanwhile, the DMW said the concerned seafarers are also entitled to receive:

*a bonus equal to the basic wage, payable for five days minimum + per day if longer
*a double compensation in case of death and disability
*a mandatory requirement to increase security arrangements equivalent to ISPS Level 3

“The expansion of the scope of ‘high risk areas’ to include the Gulf of Aden serves as a necessary step towards providing stronger protection and promoting stricter security measures to safeguard Filipino seafarers and all seafarers working onboard ships navigating in such HRAs,” Cacdac said in a statement.

Cacdac urged employers of Filipino seafarers to comply with the designation and implement risk mitigation measures such as rerouting vessels and deploying armed security personnel.

The DMW also called for continued diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions and to address the causes of the current conflict in the Middle East.

In November last year, two Filipino seafarers were onboard a chemical tanker that was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. They were later declared safe and accounted for.

Last December, a container ship with 15 Filipino crew members was hit by a drone attack orchestrated by Yemeni Houthi rebels near the Red Sea. No one was hurt in the incident. —Joahna Lei Casilao/KBK, GMA Integrated News