UK-registered cargo ship ‘under attack’ near Yemen – reports

Yemen Monitor / Marib / Agencies

A UK-registered cargo ship has come under attack off the coast of Yemen amid heightened tensions in the Red Sea.

The UK’s Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it received a report of an incident 35 nautical miles south of Al Mukha in Yemen on Sunday night.

An explosion in close proximity to the vessel had resulted in damage, but all crew are safe and ‘authorities are investigating’, the agency said in an advisory note.

The report gave no further details but Sky News, citing private security firm Ambrey, said that the ship was a UK-registered vessel and had come “under attack” in the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

The ship was heading north during its journey from Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates to Varna, Bulgaria, when the attack occurred, Ambrey revealed.

‘The partially laden vessel briefly slowed from ten to six knots and deviated course, and contacted the Djiboutian Navy, before returning to her previous course and speed,’ the firm added.

The ship is believed to Belize-flagged, Lebanese-operated and UK registered.

The UK and the US have carried out joint airstrikes against Houthi rebels in recent weeks in order to stop attacks on commercial shipping.

For weeks, the waterway has been the scene of attacks by the Houthis, who said they would block Israeli ships in support of Gaza. However, many attacks have included non-Israeli ships, prompting major shipping companies to divert their vessels to alternative routes.

The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are vital maritime routes, with about 12 per cent of annual global trade moving through the region.

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