One of four Pinoy seafarers held by Iran freed

Rhodina Villanueva, Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
One of four Pinoy seafarers held by Iran freed
Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac (left) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Arnel Ignacio welcome the released Filipino seafarer and his wife at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines — One of the four Filipino seafarers being held by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has been released, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

Efforts to have the remaining three freed continue with the help of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and other nations providing assistance. 

“The Philippines welcomes the good news that one of the four Filipino seamen at the MSC Aries has been released and is arriving home later today,” the DFA said.

“We appreciate Iran’s gesture and the intercession of India in this matter,” it added in a social media post on X.

“We send thanks to the Department of Foreign Affairs who spared no efforts to secure the release of our brave seafarer,” said Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac.

He added the DMW will remain in constant communication with the DFA to check on the condition of the remaining members of the crew still being held by Iranian authorities.                

The DMW’s attached agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), is coordinating with the families of all the crewmen, assuring them of the government’s full support and assistance during this difficult time.

“The DMW, OWWA and DFA, in coordination with the ship agent and licensed manning agency, are now working to bring the Filipino crew member home to reunite him with his family,” said Cacdac.

He expressed optimism that the three Filipino seafarers will be released soon.

The released Filipino seafarer arrived back in the country yesterday, and was welcomed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 by Cacdac and OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio.

The four Filipinos were among 25 crew members of the MSC Aries that was seized and held by Iranian naval authorities on April 13, as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

The MSC Aries, though registered in Portugal, is said to have links to Israel. Tensions between Iran and Israel in the region continue. — Rudy Santos

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