Two sailors dead after Houthis strike ship in Gulf of Aden, US says | Houthis

Two sailors have been killed and six others injured after a Houthi missile attack on a ship in the Gulf of Aden, US officials have said – the first fatalities of commercial shipping crews since the Houthis began attacking ships in the Gulf last year the waters off the coast of Yemen. year.

The officials told US news agencies that the crew of the MV True Confidence abandoned ship after the attack, which was claimed by the Houthis.

The British Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, posted on X: “At least two innocent sailors died. This was the sad but inevitable consequence of the Houthis’ reckless firing of missiles at international shipping. They have to stop.”

The bulk carrier was drifting with a fire on board after it was struck about 9:30 GMT on Wednesday, 50 nautical miles southwest of Aden, the ship’s owner and operator said.

“The ship is drifting,” Liberian-registered owner True Confidence Shipping and Greece-based operator Third January Maritime Ltd said in a joint statement, adding that there was currently no connection to any U.S. entity.

Maritime security company Ambrey said the ship had been struck and suffered damage, adding that a rescue operation was “underway with parts of the crew already in lifeboats”.

Houthi militants in Yemen have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping since mid-November, saying they stand in solidarity with Palestinians to oppose Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

A number of ships have been damaged in such attacks, but Wednesday’s deaths are the first among merchant sailors. Two US Navy Seals drowned in waters off Somalia in January when they tried to board an unflagged ship carrying Iranian weapons bound for the Houthis

The Yemen Data Project estimates that there were 11 civilian casualties in three separate US-led attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen in February.

The US and Britain launched Operation Poseidon Archer on January 12. The project estimates that the number of Houthi attacks on shipping doubled in February compared to the previous month: at least 79 attacks, compared to at least 33 in January.

Wednesday’s incident came as the British Embassy in Yemen warned of serious environmental consequences following the sinking of Rubymar, a Belizean-flagged and Lebanese-owned aircraft carrier, by the Houthi. The ship sank this weekend after drifting for almost a fortnight. Lloyd’s List said outdated data may have led the Houthis and the British government to consider the ship as British property.

The growing disruption has led to several shipping lines and oil companies suspending or diverting voyages from the key Yemen-bordering route, which accounts for around 12% of global maritime transport.

Earlier this week, four of 15 critical submarine cables in the Red Sea were cut, with HGC Communications estimating this affected 25% of traffic.

London and Washington recognize they need better intelligence on the Houthis’ military assets, and are drawing up plans to help train local naval forces to help control Yemen’s territorial waters.

The Aden government is confident that the Houthis will not end attacks on ships in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait even if Israel’s war on Gaza ends.

While the militia has said it would attack ships linked to Britain, the US and Israel, shipping industry sources say all ships could be at risk.

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