UK-registered cargo ship attacked near Yemen; probe underway

British maritime security firm Ambrey confirmed the attack, stating that an explosion occurred following a missile strike. The crew abandoned the vessel after the attack.

| Updated: 19 February, 2024 7:11 pm IST
UK-Registered Cargo Ship Under Attack In Red Sea

NEW DELHI: A UK-registered cargo ship has reported being under attack in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait off the coast of Yemen. The incident occurred as the vessel was en route from the UAE to Bulgaria.

British maritime security firm Ambrey confirmed the attack, stating that an explosion occurred following a missile strike. The crew abandoned the vessel after the attack.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) is currently investigating the incident. In a statement, UKMTO mentioned, “Military authorities are investigating. UKMTO has received a report of an incident 35 NM south of Al Mukha, Yemen.” The master of the ship reported an explosion near the vessel, resulting in damage, but all crew members are reported safe.

The ship, believed to be Belize-flagged, Lebanese-operated, and UK-registered, was targeted in the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Ambrey reported that the vessel, on its journey from Khor Fakkan in the UAE to Varna, Bulgaria, briefly slowed and deviated course after the attack. The ship contacted the Djiboutian Navy before returning to its previous course and speed.

This incident comes amid heightened tensions and repeated attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group on international commercial shipping in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait since mid-November. The Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, claim to be acting in solidarity with Palestinians in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The UK and the US, along with allies like Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, have conducted joint airstrikes against Houthi rebels since January 11, aiming to thwart attacks on commercial shipping. The UKMTO has issued a caution to vessels, advising them to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity.

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