Houthis hijack UAE-flagged ship off Yemen carrying medical equipment

'The Houthi militia must promptly release the ship or Coalition Forces will undertake all necessary measures'



SPA file
SPA file

By Reuters, SPA

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 1:29 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 2:51 PM

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement has hijacked a UAE-flagged cargo vessel (RWABEE) carrying hospital equipment off the western Yemeni port of Hodeidah, the Saudi-led coalition said on Monday.

The Houthis' military spokesman confirmed the seizure of a cargo ship.

The ship was heading to the Saudi port of Jazan, just north of Yemen, from the Yemeni Red Sea island of Socotra when it was attacked just before midnight on Sunday, Saudi state news agency SPA reported, quoting coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki Al Malki.

It was carrying equipment from a shuttered field hospital, when it was attacked, SPA said.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition that has been battling the Houthis for more than six years.

The alliance has accused the movement of attacking shipping in the Red Sea, one of the world's busiest maritime lanes leading to the Suez Canal.

A statement issued by SPA said:

'This act of piracy by the terrorist Houthi militia is a credible threat that highlights the danger of the Houth militia on the freedom of navigation and international trade in the South Red Sea and Bab Al Mandab Strait.

The terrorist Houthi militia will bear full responsibility as a result of its criminal act of piracy against the ship, which violates International Humanitarian Law, the San Remo Manual on Armed Conflicts at Sea and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS).

The militia must promptly release the ship, or the Coalition Forces will undertake all necessary measures and procedures to handle this violation, including the use of force if necessary'

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said late on Sunday it had received reports of an attack on a vessel near Yemen's port of Ras Isa, which lies slightly north of Hodeidah, and an investigation was under way.

It was not immediately clear if it was the same attack.

In an advisory issued at 2150 GMT, 12.50am local time, UKMTO - part of Britain's Royal Navy - advised mariners to exercise extreme caution in the area.

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It put the vessel's position at approximately 23 nautical miles west of Ras Isa oil terminal in the Red Sea.

The last attack near Ras Isa was in late 2019 when the Houthis briefly seized a Saudi-flagged ship and two South Korean vessels.


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