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Philippine captain vows to return to sea after Houthi attack

June 17, 2024 at 1:41 pm

Christian Domarique (C), a Filipino crew member of the MV Tutor ship, arrives at the airport in Pasay, Metro Manila, on June 17, 2024 [JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images]

The Philippine crew of a vessel attacked by Yemen’s Houthis was repatriated to the Philippines from Bahrain on Monday, with the ship’s captain vowing to return to the seas after the crew had recovered from the experience, Reuters reports.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for a missile strike on the Liberia flagged, Greek-owned, coal carrier “Tutor” near the Yemeni port of Hudaydah on 12 June. The ship was carrying 22 crew from the Philippines and one is still missing in the flooded engine room.

“We first need to rest because of the trauma,” the Tutor’s Captain, Christian Domarique, told a press conference at Manila airport. “We will recover for a few months before returning.”

Houthi attacks have struck three vessels crewed by Filipino seafarers since last year, killing two sailors, with 17 still being held captive by the Houthis, government data showed.

A tearful Domarique thanked God, his company and government agencies for assisting him and his fellow seafarers to get back to the Philippines.

The government has pledged financial and psychological assistance for the 21 crew members.

“The captain has good working years ahead of him, so with the crew that is relatively young, they will still have more seafaring years ahead of them,” Hans Leo Cacdac, the Philippines’ migrant workers minister, told a press conference.

The vessel’s owner pledged to continue the search for the missing sailor alongside a salvaging operation to tow the stranded ship, Cacdac said, which, on Friday, was adrift in the Red Sea.

The Houthis, who have said their attacks are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, have disrupted global shipping, causing delays and costs to cascade through supply chains.

At least 65 countries and major energy and shipping companies – including Shell, BP, Maersk and Cosco – have been affected, according to a report by the US Defence Intelligence Agency.

READ: Rescue underway for crew of Greek-owned vessel hit by Houthis, Philippines says