Attack off the coast of Yemen | Ship’s crew reports two deaths

(Dubai) A missile fired from Yemen hit a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday and the crew reported at least two deaths and six injuries, a US official said.

The missile caused “significant damage” to the Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned ship, the official said, adding that its “crew reported at least two deaths and six injuries among its ranks and abandoned ship.”

“The ship was abandoned by the crew”, with no one at the controls, according to the maritime safety agency UKMTO.

UKMTO said earlier that the bulk carrier had been “hit and sustained damage”, without giving details of the attack.

The ship “was the target of a strike and suffered damage”, indicated for its part the British maritime security company Ambrey, after initially reporting an explosion near the bulk carrier, while it was was 57 nautical miles (105 km) southwest of the Yemeni city of Aden.

According to Ambrey, “rescue operations are underway, with part of the crew already in the lifeboats.”

The UKMTO agency, led by the British navy, reported an intervention by “coalition forces”.

The United States in December established a multinational force off the coast of Yemen tasked with protecting commercial shipping against attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels.

These insurgents close to Iran have since November targeted ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden that they consider linked to Israel, saying they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in the context of the war in the Gaza Strip started in october.

Their attacks have forced many shipowners to suspend passage through these important shipping lanes. According to the International Monetary Fund, shipping of containers through the Red Sea fell by almost 30% year-on-year. Before the war, between 12 and 15% of world traffic passed through this axis, according to the European Union.

The establishment by the United States of a multinational coalition and the strikes carried out, sometimes with the help of the United Kingdom, against the positions of the Houthis in Yemen have not succeeded in stopping the attacks of the Yemeni rebels, who aim now also American and British ships.

UKMTO reported earlier on Wednesday that a commercial vessel had been contacted by “an entity posing as the Yemeni navy ordering it to change course.” According to Ambrey, it is the American bulk carrier.

On Tuesday, the US military said it had shot down a missile and three drones from Yemeni rebels that were targeting a US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea.

The day before, the Houthis had attacked a container ship from the Italian-Swiss shipowner MSC, claiming that it was an “Israeli ship”.


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