Protecting Filipino Seafarers: Addressing the Rising Threat of Houthi Attacks

This handout photograph taken on March 6, 2024 and released by the Indian Navy shows the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier following a attack by Yemen's Huthi rebels, in Gulf of Aden. A missile fired by Yemen's Huthi rebels hit a bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden on March 6, with the crew reporting three people killed and at least four wounded, the US military said. INDIAN NAVY / AFP
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A Call for Added Protection for Filipino Seafarers

A resolution has recently been filed at the House of Representatives, aiming to provide increased protection for Filipino seafarers amidst the heightened attacks by Houthi militants on commercial ships. House Resolution 1651, filed by Representatives Ron Salo, Salvador Pleyt, Khymer Adan Olaso, Felimon Espares, Presley de Jesus, and Lex Anthony Cris Colada, was a direct response to the tragic missile attack on the M/V True Confidence off the Yemeni coast, which resulted in the loss of two Filipino seamen.

In another distressing incident, Filipino crews aboard the cargo ship Galaxy Leader were taken hostage by Houthi militants. These events have raised significant concerns about the safety and security of Filipino seafarers operating in the region.

The resolution emphasizes the consensus among maritime organizations that the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have become increasingly unsafe for transit due to the escalating threat posed by Houthi militants. To provide context for an international audience, it is important to note that the Houthi militants have been reacting to the Gaza war, which was Israel’s response to an attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

Recognizing the urgent need for action, the resolution calls upon maritime stakeholders, concerned United Nations organizations, and government agencies to swiftly implement effective safety measures. The aim is to ensure the protection and well-being of Filipino seafarers who continue to face grave risks in their line of work.

Additionally, the resolution appeals to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Migrant Workers to engage with international authorities. The objective is to adopt appropriate measures that will guarantee the safety of Filipino seafarers while they are on duty.

“We stand in solidarity with our seafarers and their families in the face of these grave threats,” stated Kabayan Party-List Representative Salo. This statement reflects the unwavering commitment of the Filipino government and its representatives to prioritize the safety and security of its seafaring citizens.

It is crucial to recognize the significant contributions of Filipino seafarers to the global maritime industry. Known for their professionalism, skill, and dedication, Filipino seafarers play an integral role in supporting international trade and ensuring the smooth operation of commercial ships worldwide. However, their invaluable services should not come at the expense of their safety.

The filing of this resolution serves as a reminder that the international community must come together to address the escalating threats faced by Filipino seafarers. It is essential to establish robust safety measures that will safeguard their lives and protect their rights while they navigate through perilous waters.

In conclusion, the resolution filed at the House of Representatives seeking added protection for Filipino seafarers is a significant step towards addressing the growing concerns surrounding their safety. By urging maritime stakeholders, United Nations organizations, and government agencies to take immediate action, the resolution aims to ensure the well-being of Filipino seafarers and prevent further tragedies. It is imperative that international authorities collaborate to adopt appropriate measures and provide the necessary support to protect these brave individuals who contribute so much to the global maritime industry.

Source: The Manila Times

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