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UK-owned ship set on fire off the coast of Yemen in suspected Houthi attack

The vessel is called Islander, two shipping sources said

Thursday 22 February 2024 14:13 GMT
Yemen's Houthis launch missile strikes on British oil tanker En Route to India at Red Sea| Pollux

A cargo ship was set on fire off the southern coast of Yemen after being struck in a missile attack on Thursday that has prompted US-led naval forces to respond, British maritime agencies reported.

The UK-owned, Palau-flagged ship was en route to Egypt from Thailand, according to maritime security firm Ambrey and ship tracking data.

Islander is the name of the vessel, two shipping sources said.

US-led coalition forces are responding to the incident, which involved two missiles being fired at the ship some 70 nautical miles southeast of Aden, Yemen, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said.

Iran-aligned Houthi militants in Yemen have launched repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden since November.

The Houthis have said they are acting out of support for Palestinians in Gaza.

US and British forces in January began retaliatory strikes on Houthi facilities.

Newly recruited Houthi fighters attend a protest march against the US-led strikes on Yemen (AP)

No ships have been sunk nor crew killed in the Houthi attacks, however there are concerns about the fate of the Rubymar cargo vessel which was struck on Feb 18.

The Houthis said the Rubymar was at risk of sinking but a US defence official said as of Thursday the ship remained afloat.

Such attacks are disrupting a route which accounts for about 12% of global maritime traffic and forcing firms to take a longer, more expensive route around Africa.

“If anything, Houthis attacks on cargo ships are intensifying in the Red Sea and around the Gulf of Aden,” Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM wrote in a note on Tuesday.

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