The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Sunday, April 14, confirmed that four Filipino seafarers are on board the container ship MSC Aries that was seized by Iranian authorities while traversing the Strait of Hormuz, near the Gulf of Oman.

Upon the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the DMW contacted the families of the Filipino seafarers, assuring them of full government support and assistance.

“We are also in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the licensed manning agency (LMA), ship manager and operator to ensure the safety and well-being as well as work on the release of our dear seafarers,” the advisory read.

On Saturday, April 13, Iran’s state-run IRNA News Agency reported that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Special Naval Force had seized the Portuguese-flagged MCS Aries ship near the Strait of Hormuz, saying it was linked to Israel.

MSC, which operates the vessel, confirmed the seizure saying that they are now working with relevant authorities for the safe return and well-being of its 25 crewmembers, including the four Filipinos.

MSC Aries is operated by the Zodiac Maritime Shipping Company, which Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer partly owns.

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

In a statement, the International Chamber of Shipping condemned the seizure and called for the immediate release of the seafarers and the ship.PNA