Cargo ship attacked in Red Sea, crew member missing

Aden (Yemen), June 13 (IANS) A commercial cargo ship was struck twice in attacks in the Red Sea off Yemen’s western coast, leaving one crew member missing and the vessel adrift, Yemeni and maritime officials reported.

An official at the government’s Coast Guard forces, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that the Greek-owned bulk carrier Tutor came under assault nearly 67.7 nautical miles southwest of Hodeidah, when an explosives-laden boat detonated at the stern, causing a hull breach and flooding, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of the 21 crew members of different nationalities aboard the ship, one has been declared missing in the first attack, the official said.

“The ship is currently adrift and taking on water,” the official said, adding the vessel had issued a distress call over VHF radio shortly after the first strike.

Meanwhile, the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) confirmed that it has received a report of the incident near Hodeidah, adding that the captain reported the vessel was leaking and not under the crew’s control.

In a second attack, the stricken and disabled ship was hit again by “an unknown airborne projectile,” the UKMTO said, citing a report from the ship’s master.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Houthi group which controls the Hodeidah area.

However, the group has launched numerous attacks in recent months against commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

Since November last year, the Houthi group has launched anti-ship ballistic missiles and drones targeting what they said were Israeli-linked ships transiting the Red Sea, to show solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In response, the US-British naval coalition stationed in the region has conducted air raids and missile strikes against Houthi targets since January to deter the group but this only led to an expansion of Houthi attacks to include US and British commercial vessels and naval ships.



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