MITC recommends declaration of 'war-like zones' in Red Sea, Golf of Aden — DMW
MITC recommends declaration of 'war-like zones' in Red Sea, Golf of Aden — DMW
MITC recommends declaration of 'war-like zones' in Red Sea, Golf of Aden — DMW
by Mary Antalan21 March 2024
Photo courtesy: Dario Bonazza/Reuters

The Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) of the Philippines has recommended the declaration of war-like zones (WLZ) in the southern portion of the Red Sea and the entire Gulf of Aden amid the escalating conflict and the death of two Filipino seafarers in a Houthi rebel missile attack, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Thursday, March 21.

In a press release, DMW said MITC made the recommendation in a meeting it presided over last March 19.

“Our seafarers are not soldiers or military personnel, and we cannot allow them to risk their safety and lives by operating in areas with conditions similar to a war situation,” DMW Officer-in-Charge Hans Leo Cacdac said as quoted by the agency.

According to DMW, "the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) is the forum that brings together the ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) and the international maritime employers that make up the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG)."


Cacdac reportedly said the agency will implement procedures and mechanisms within its regulatory purview to allow Filipino seafarers to exercise their "right to refuse" sailing on vessels that are headed toward regions designated as WLZ.

Shipping firms and licensed manning agencies will be required to use the DMW electronic Overseas Welfare Monitoring System to record any transit of one of their ships into the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden as a "significant event." But if such a major event is not reported, DMW said the shipping principal and manning agency will be subject to the applicable penalties.

Cacdac said the DMW and MITC prioritize the safety and rights of seafarers and that they ought to protect them from discrimination or withheld compensation for exercising their right to refuse sailing.


"The DMW shall open an electronic portal as well as dedicated hotlines through which our seafarers may inform the department that they are exercising their right to refuse sailing," the DMW officer-in-charge noted.

The DMW and the MITC reiterate the call for enhanced security measures on ships traversing the highly volatile sea route, which entails maritime security escorts and onboard security personnel.

The MITC is a consultative body on policies and programs on the welfare and protection of seafarers, composed of Philippine government agencies, seafarers’ groups, associations of licensed manning agencies, and PHL shipowners.

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