DMW: Iran releases 1 Filipino crew of seized ship MSC Aries

By Marita Moaje

May 10, 2024, 11:52 am

<p>DMW facade<em> (PNA file photo)</em></p>

DMW facade (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Iranian authorities have freed one Filipino crew member of the seized container ship MSC Aries, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) announced on Friday.

In a statement, DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac thanked Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and the agency's staff who tirelessly worked for the release of the seafarer.

“The DMW will continue working with the DFA, the ship agent, and licensed manning agency to secure the release of the three Filipino crewmen who remain in the custody of Iranian authorities,” Cacdac said.

Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries was seized by Iranian authorities on April 13 while traversing the Strait of Hormuz, near the Gulf of Oman, saying it was linked to Israel.

Seized together with the ship were its 25 crew members, among them four Filipinos.

MSC Aries is owned by Gortal Shipping, Inc., which is affiliated with Zodiac Maritime Shipping Company. IRNA identified Zodiac as partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

The incident occurred amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel over the latter’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1, which killed several Iranian military advisors, including two IRGC senior commanders, IRNA News reported.

The DMW and its attached agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), have been in touch with the families of all the crewmen, assuring them of full government support and assistance, as directed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“The DMW, OWWA, and DFA, in coordination with the ship agent and licensed manning agency, are now working to bring the Filipino crew member home to reunite him with his family,” the statement read. (PNA)