DMW bans seafarers on Red Sea, Gulf of Aden

Yemeni coastguards loyal to the internationally-recognised government ride in a patrol boat in the Red Sea off the government-held town of Mokha in the western Taiz province, close to the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, on April 15, 2024.
AFP/Khaled Ziad

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Wednesday prohibited the deployment of Filipino seafarers on passenger and cruise ships traveling through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden as threats to shipping in the region worsens.

DMW issued the order after the inclusion of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and International Bargaining Forum (IBF) list of "high-risk areas" and "war-like zones."

The DMW and the Philippine Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) also agreed to underscore the urgent need for stricter protocols to ensure the safety of Filipino mariners navigating the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The department order mandates licensed manning agencies to sign an "affirmation letter" guaranteeing the vessels their seafarers board will not navigate the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden.

This commitment, along with an itinerary of the vessel, must be submitted to the DMW during the documentation of crew deployment contracts or before their deployment.
Filipino seafarers listed as crew members onboard the vessels must also sign the affirmation letter acknowledging their vessel will not enter the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden.

The affirmation letter executed by manning agencies with the seafarers' consent must be uploaded to the DMW's Online Processing System for Sea-based (DOPS-Sea) together with the processed Standard Employment Contract (SEC).

Four Filipino seafarers were on board an Israeli-linked container ship seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards last week.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have carried out dozens of missile and drone attacks against ships in the Red Sea. A missile attack in March killed three seafarers, including two Filipinos.

In November, Houthi seized an Israel-linked cargo vessel, the Galaxy Leader. The crew, including 17 Filipino seafarers, are still being held.

The Philippines is a major source of seafarers for the global maritime sector, comprising 25% of 1.5 million sea-based workers worldwide. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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