November 10, 2023
MANILA – At least four Filipino seafarers who were caught in a missile attack in Ukraine sustained injuries but are not in critical condition, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Thursday.
The four worked on the Liberian-flagged ship, the Kmax Ruler, docked at the port of Pivdennyi near Odessa which, according to the Ukrainian government, became the target of a missile assault by Russian forces.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is coordinating with the DMW on the matter.
The Filipinos who sustained minor injuries were the captain, able seaman and deck cadet, while the ship’s electrician sustained a fracture on his left hand and is receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Neither DFA nor DMW has released data on the number of Filipino seafarers on ships stranded in Ukrainian ports since the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine in February 2022.
In the latest incident, the Filipinos were on the ship’s bridge when the missile hit the vessel, resulting in the death of one nonFilipino crew.
“Thankfully, they were far enough from the point of impact and suffered nonfatal injuries. They are all out of danger,” the DMW quoted officer in charge Hans Cacdac.
According to the DMW, instructions were already given to the seafarers’ manning agency and ship owner to provide all the necessary assistance to the injured Filipinos.
“As soon as we received the report of the incident, we instructed their manning agency and ship owner to determine what else can be done for them,” Cacdac said. Communication with the families of the victims and with their company is already being facilitated by the DMW to help ease the burden of the Filipinos in recovery, the department said.
Almost two years now since the Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine has been at war with the country.
The United Nations assisted in crafting the guaranteed safety of shipments of grains from Ukraine passing through the Black Sea. But Russia recently withdrew from this agreement and has since been consistently attacking Ukrainian ports and ships.