Bishop to gov’t: Ensure safety of Pinoy crewmen on ship seized by Iran

April 16, 2024 - 3:49 PM
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Stella Maris – Philippines. (Antipolo Cathedral)

A Catholic bishop urged the Philippine government to ensure the safety of Filipino seafarers who were among the crew of a container ship seized by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf over the weekend.

“We trust our government officials for necessary diplomatic assistance and assurance to exhaust all means to bring them safely home,” Bishop Ruperto Santos of Stella Maris – Philippines said.

“It is sad news. Like their families, we too are worried for their condition. We are so concerned with their safety,” he said.

The Department of Migrant Workers said that four Filipino seafarers were among the crew aboard an Israeli-linked, Portuguese-flagged, “MSC Aries” vessel seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.

The agency has been in touch with the families of the four sailors and is coordinating with the manning agency, ship manager, and operator to ensure their safety and immediate release.

The Antipolo bishop asked the faithful to pray for the seamen.

“In this problematic situation we turn to God for His mercy to keep our four seafarers safe, stable and healthy,” he said.

Last November, 17 Filipino seafarers were held hostage when Yemen’s Houthi militants hijacked an Israeli cargo ship in the Red Sea.

In March, two Filipino sailors were killed in a Houthi missile strike on a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, near southern Yemen.