An Ilonggo was among the Filipino seafarers taken hostage by Houthi rebels who seized a cargo vessel in the southern Red Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, that 17 Filipino seafarers were on board the commercial ship Galaxy Leader.

According to a report by radio station Radyo Bandera-Iloilo,the Ilonggo hostage was identified as Leonardo Flores, 41, of Barangay Pangsangaan, Pavia, Iloilo.

In an interview with Charlie Flores, he said his brother’s agency, Sea Power, informed the seafarer’s wife about the hijacking of the ship by the Iran-backed armed group.

The Israeli-linked ship was on its way from Turkey to India when it was seized on Sunday, Nov. 19.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said the seizure was in response to the “heinous acts against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank.”

“If the international community is concerned about regional security and stability, rather than expanding the conflict, it should put an end to Israel’s aggression against Gaza,” he said in a post on X.

In a statement, DFA said it was making diplomatic representations with governments regarding the 17 Filipinos.

“We are currently working with DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) which has primary jurisdiction over assistance cases involving seafarers. But there is an all of government approach and various government agencies are meeting and working together on this,” it said.

DFA assured “the public that everything is being done to get our seafarers back safely.”IMT