Home Top News Philippines, India partner to protect Pinoy seamen in Red Sea

Philippines, India partner to protect Pinoy seamen in Red Sea

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The Philippines and India have agreed to bolster cooperation to protect Filipino seamen amid recent attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, according to the presidential palace.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office said President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. told Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during a courtesy call on Tuesday that security concerns in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden showed the need for both countries to bolster cooperation in maritime security.

“Maybe we can find something that we can do together to ease the situation at least a little bit until… the conflict becomes less heated,” he told the Indian minister, according to the palace.

At the same meeting, Mr. Jaishankar said Indian Prime Minister Narendra D. Modi has invited Mr. Marcos to visit India.

Mr. Marcos said he wants the visit to take place this year, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The Philippine Migrant Workers Department has required commercial vessels to register a “significant event” when they sail through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to protect Filipino seamen following the attacks by Houthi rebels.

Two Filipino seamen aboard the civilian bulk carrier True Confidence were killed during a Houthi missile attack on March 6. Three Filipinos were hurt in the attack.

Last week, the International Bargaining Forum designated the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as “warlike zones,” urging shipowners to avoid passing through them.

In November, Houthi rebels from Yemen seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea and took 17 Filipino seamen hostage.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree had said the seizure was in response to “heinous acts” against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Mr. Marcos thanked the Indian Navy officers aboard the INS Kolkata that rescued the Filipino seafarers caught in the attack.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said 18 Filipino seafarers aboard an oil tanker that Tehran seized in the Gulf of Oman in January have all returned to the Philippines.

“They were repatriated in batches, including the final group of six seafarers who arrived in Manila last week,” it said in a statement. — John Victor D. Ordonez

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