Escalating Maritime Tensions: Houthi Attacks Ship in Gulf of Aden


Yemen's Houthi militants have escalated attacks on shipping vessels, targeting the Rubymar cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel, at risk of sinking, was struck by anti-ship ballistic missiles, amplifying tensions and disrupting maritime traffic in solidarity with Palestinians amid the Gaza conflict.

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sarea confirmed the attack, highlighting the Rubymar's severe damage and the crew's safe evacuation. Additionally, a U.S. drone was shot down over Hodeidah port.

Central Command (CENTCOM) verified the missile launch, emphasizing one missile's impact on the Rubymar and subsequent distress calls. Despite evacuation, the vessel sustained significant damage, prompting considerations for towage.

In a separate incident, the Greece-flagged Sea Champion was attacked twice, sustaining window damage but no casualties. These attacks exacerbate challenges for seafarers navigating the Red Sea, prompting calls for crew release and disrupting global shipping routes.

The vessel was taking grain from Argentina to Aden.

Seafarers in the firing line have signed industry-wide agreements giving them rights to refuse to sail on ships passing through the Red Sea and to receive double pay when entering high-risk zones.

Shipping industry associations on Monday called for the release of the 25 crew members of the Galaxy Leader commercial ship hijacked by the Houthis three months ago on Nov 19.

"The 25 seafarers who make up the crew of the Galaxy Leader are innocent victims of the ongoing aggression against world shipping," the associations said. "It is abhorrent that seafarers were seized by military forces and that they have been kept from their families and loved ones for too long."

The disruptions have ripple effects, delaying LNG deliveries and impacting container shipping, with rising insurance premiums and safety concerns for crews. The European Union initiated a naval mission to restore navigation freedom, addressing escalating security threats in the Red Sea region.

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