The MV Tutor is a Greek-owned bulk carrier registered in Liberia.
On June 12, 2024, the Yemeni Houthi movement attacked the MV Tutor, a Greek-owned Liberia-flagged bulk carrier, in the southern Red Sea. The vessel was seriously damaged, and later abandoned by her crew. She sank six days after the attacks. One Filipino still remains missing, while the rest were rescued. Image Credit: X | warintel4u

Manila: Filipino seafarers will no longer be permitted to board ships owned by entities previously attacked by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, a senior official has announced on Tuesday (June 25, 2024).

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac specified that the ships involved in these attacks are the M/V Galaxy Leader, M/V True Confidence, and M/V Tutor, with the majority of their crew members being Filipinos.

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“We will no longer process or allow the boarding of seafarers on ships owned by these three principals,” Cacdac stated during a press briefing.

The DMW is collaborating with maritime stakeholders to assess risks and enhance the protection of Filipino seafarers.

Cacdac emphasised the need for shipowners to give timely notices to Filipino seafarers about navigating through high-risk zones, citing instances where seafarers were not given adequate time to exercise their right to refuse sailing.

Refusal to sail

As of now, 78 Filipino seafarers have refused to sail, and their decisions have been acknowledged by shipowners.

In March, the DMW issued guidelines for licensed manning agencies to follow if a Filipino seafarer is assigned to ships passing through high-risk and war-like areas.

Department Order No. 1 prioritises the safety and well-being of seafarers due to the increasing incidents of piracy and armed violence in certain regions.

The DMW has instructed principal shipowners and licensed manning agencies to avoid routes passing through the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and surrounding waters.

Recently, 21 Filipino seafarers from M/V Tutor returned home after their vessel was attacked by Houthi rebels, while one Filipino remains missing.

Another attack

Another vessel, M/V Transworld Navigator, was attacked on Sunday, but all 27 Filipino crew members are safe.

Cacdac stated that the DMW will seek assistance from maritime security authorities, including the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, for proper security assessments.

The "right to refuse sailing" is a provision that allows seafarers to decline boarding or continue working on a vessel under certain conditions, typically when there are significant safety and security risks.

This right is part of international maritime regulations and is designed to protect the well-being of seafarers.

Seafarers have the right to refuse sailing if they believe that the ship is not seaworthy or if there are significant safety hazards that have not been addressed.

This includes issues like poor maintenance, inadequate safety equipment, or any other conditions that might jeopardise their safety.