Four Filipino Sailors Aboard Israel-Linked Ship Seized by Iran

By Yoni Weiss

Image provided by a Mideast defense official shows a helicopter raid targeting a vessel near the Strait of Hormuz on April 13. (AP Photo)

The Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirmed on Sunday that four Filipino sailors were aboard the MSC Aries, a container ship seized by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, adjacent to the Gulf of Oman. Following President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s orders, the DMW has reached out to the families of the detained sailors to offer full government support and assistance.

In coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the licensed manning agency, and the ship’s managers and operators, efforts are underway to ensure the safety, well-being, and eventual release of the Filipino crew members, according to a department advisory.

The seizure was carried out by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Special Naval Force, which intercepted the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, linking it to Israel. The MSC, the company operating the vessel, acknowledged the incident and stated their commitment to working with relevant authorities to secure the safe return of the 25 crew members, including the four Filipinos.

The vessel is managed by Zodiac Maritime Shipping Company, partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer. The International Chamber of Shipping has issued a statement condemning the seizure and demanding the immediate release of both the crew and the ship.

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