By Marita Moaje

BACK HOME. Ten Filipino seafarers of M/V Transworld Navigator arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Tuesday evening (July 2, 2024), ahead of 12 other seafarers. All 27 Filipino crew members of the ship that was attacked by Houthi rebels last week are now back home. (Photo courtesy of DMW)

MANILA – The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) welcomed back 22 more crew members of the M/V Transworld Navigator who arrived in two batches at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport late Tuesday.

All 27 Filipino seafarers of the Liberian-flagged and Greek-owned and operated cargo carrier that was attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels last week are now back and safe. Five seafarers arrived in the country on Sunday.

DMW Assistant Secretary Jerome Pampolina said the repatriated seafarers received immediate assistance from the government.

May matatanggap silang mga benepisyo. Nakatanggap sila ng mga benepisyo from several government agencies – DMW, OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). Nandun din ang DOH (Department of Health) para mag-provide ng karampatang check-up o kung me mga medical complaints (They will receive benefits. They have received benefits from several government agencies – DMW, OWWA, and DSWD. The DOH was on hand to provide a health check-up and address their medical complaints),” he said.

Stephanie Taway, wife of one of the repatriated seafarers, was emotional as she waited for her husband.

She recounted that her husband left again for abroad in May after his vacation in the Philippines.

Taway said she was speechless when she heard the news that the vessel boarded by her husband was attacked by Houthi rebels.

Hindi ko talaga inexpect na mangyayari sa kanya yung ganito. Ang tagal tagal na nya nagbabarko (I really did not expect something like this to happen to him as he has been sailing for so long),” she said.

Masaya ako nung hinatid ko siya sa airport, pero mas masaya ako ngayong babalik na siya sa amin (I was happy when I accompanied him to the airport, but I am happier now that he’s coming home to us).”

She thanked the DMW, OWWA, and other government agencies for rescuing her husband and the rest of the crew of Transworld Navigator and sending them home.

Earlier, DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac said it was the fourth shipping vessel manned by Filipino crew members to be attacked by Houthi rebels at the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The others were M/V Galaxy Leader, M/V True Confidence, and M/V Tutor.

The DMW announced in late June that the government will no longer allow Filipino seafarers to board vessels passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The DMW also required manning agencies to submit a detailed itinerary of their vessels during the processing of crew employment contracts or before deployment. (PNA)