White House: Philippine seafarer killed in Houthi attack

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
White House: Philippine seafarer killed in Houthi attack
This handout picture courtesy of the US Naval Forces Central Command released on June 15, 2024 shows sailors from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group rendering assistance to distressed mariners at sea in the Red Sea, on June 15, 2024. The crew of a ship that was holed in an attack by Yemen's Huthi rebels has been evacuated and the vessel is drifting in the Red Sea, a security agency said on on June 15. The Huthis, who control much of Yemen, seized Sanaa in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention in support of the government the following year. They say their scores of Red Sea attacks since November are in support of Palestinians in Gaza as part of Iran's "axis of resistance" to the United States and Israel.
Photo by US Navy / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino seafarer of bulk cargo carrier M/V Tutor was killed when Yemeni Houthi rebels attacked the vessel last week, the White House confirmed on Monday, as it called the action “terrorism.”

“A few days ago, the Houthis attacked a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated bulk cargo carrier M/V Tutor, killing a crew member who hailed from the Philippines,” White House National Security Communications advisor John Kirby said at a news briefing.

“The Tutor just completed a port call in Russia and was bound for Egypt. She had nothing whatsoever, nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” Kirby added.

The Houthis also attacked a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated ship, critically wounding a crewmember from Sri Lanka, according to the White House official.

“The Verbena had previously stopped in China, then Thailand and was on her way to Italy. She too had nothing whatsoever to do with the conflict in Gaza,” Kirby said.

The Houthis have made dozens of drone and missile strikes on ships in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden since November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

“The Houthis killed an innocent crew member from the Philippines and critically wounded a Sri Lankan sailor who are guilty of no crimes, who are simply doing their jobs as professional mariners,” Kirby said.

“They weren’t delivering arms to Israel. They weren’t taking sides in the Middle East. They were just manning their posts aboard ships trying to earn a paycheck and keep the global commerce moving. Like the ships that they sailed, these two had nothing whatsoever to do with the conflict in Gaza,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to confirm the reported death of the Filipino seafarer.

The 21 other Filipino crewmembers of M/V Tutor arrived in Manila last Monday following their rescue. They were transported to Bahrain through the assistance of the US Navy.

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