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IMO commemorates seafarers killed in the Red Sea amid ongoing Houthi attacks

26 June 2024

The IMO has commemorated those seafarers who have lost their lives in Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping during the International Day of the Seafarer.

In a video message, IMO secretary general Arsenio Dominguez paid tribute to seafarers who have endured attacks and piracy around the world in recent years.

At least four people have been killed in strikes on shipping by Yemen's Houthi movement since December 2023. Most recently, one person died in an attack on the Liberia-flagged bulk carrier MV Tutor on 12 June 2024.

The Houthis have attacked dozens of ships, sinking two and hijacking the Israeli-owned Galaxy leader and holding its crew hostage for eight months so far. Despite a campaign by the United States Navy, Royal Navy and allies, including hundreds of strikes on targets in Yemen, there is no sign of improvement in the security situation for seafarers.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation, speaking on behalf of seafarers’ unions globally, is now urging flag states “which are responsible for assuring a safe working environment for seafarers on their vessels’ to ‘instruct companies to divert their ships’ from the region. Meanwhile the government of the Philippines has announced that it will no longer permit Filipino seafarers to board ships owned by three entities previously attacked by the Houthis.

Nautilus International participates in the UK Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC), along with the RMT union and the UK Chamber of Shipping. The independent body provides a forum for shipping companies and seafarer unions to consider threat levels and monitor 'warlike activities' to determine whether war risk service clauses in collective agreements should be invoked.

WOAC has designated parts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean as Warlike Areas, allowing seafarers on vessels transiting these zones to be given the opportunity to disembark at an appropriate port or to receive double pay for each day the ship is in the area.

Nautilus International head of professional and technical David Appleton said: 'Nautilus continues to liaise closely with shipowners to keep the situation under review.'


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