Philippine seafarers who survived Houthi Red Sea attack arrive home

By Thomson Reuters Mar 12, 2024 | 9:02 AM

By Jay Ereno and Eloisa Lopez

MANILA (Reuters) – Eleven Filipino seafarers arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday nearly a week after they survived a Houthi missile attack off Yemen.

They were crew members of the Barbados-flagged, Greek operated merchant ship True Confidence which the Houthis attacked last week, killing three sailors, including two Filipinos. The migrant workers’ ministry said in a statement the 11 survivors received government help on arriving in Manila.

Mark Anthony Dagohoy, a crew member on True Confidence, said it was difficult to recall what they went through, but he was thankful for the military personnel who rescued them.

“We just want to be with our family,” Dagohoy told a press conference.

Officials said two other Filipinos who sustained major injuries were recovering in a Djibouti hospital. Once cleared medically, they will be flown back to Manila.

The Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea since November in what they say is a campaign in solidarity with Palestinians in the ongoing war in Gaza.

The attacks have disrupted global shipping, raising costs as companies have been forced to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around South Africa.

Foreign affairs undersecretary Eduardo de Vega said on Tuesday the Philippine government has also reached a deal with the International Transport Workers Federation for Filipino seafarers to have the right to refuse deployments in high-risk areas.

The Philippines is a major source of seafarers for the global maritime sector. They are among millions of overseas Filipinos sending home more than $2.5 billion each month, boosting consumer spending which drives growth in the domestic economy.

(Reporting by Eloisa Lopez and Jay Ereno, Editing by Ed Osmond)