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Projectile hits tanker off Yemen — security agencies

By AFP - Mar 23,2024 - Last updated at Mar 23,2024

This handout grab of a video taken and released by the French 'Etat-Major des Armees' on March 20, shows a Houthi UAV threatening commercial navigation prior to its destruction by a French army helicopter from a French destroyer patrolling in The Red Sea (AFP photo)

DUBAI — A vessel was struck Saturday by "an unidentified projectile" off Yemen, where Huthi rebels have intensified attacks on Red Sea shipping, the British navy's United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations said.

The hit caused a fire that was "successfully extinguished" and both the vessel and the crew were "reported safe", UKMTO said.

It added the ship was on its way to its next port of call.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the reported attack, which UKMTO said struck 23 nautical miles west of the Yemeni port of Mokha.

Maritime security agency Ambrey said the targeted vessel was a Panama-flagged oil tanker en route to New Mangalore Port in India.

According to Ambrey, "the tanker's registration details, including name and operator, had been changed as recently as February 2024".

The tanker was registered in 2019 by British firm Union Maritime Ltd, the security agency said, noting that another vessel affiliated with the same company has previously been targeted by the Houthis.

The Iran-backed rebels, who control much of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, have launched dozens of missile and drone strikes on shipping over the past four months, actions they say are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The Houthis have vowed to target Israeli, British and US ships, as well as vessels heading to Israeli ports, disrupting traffic along the vital trade route.

The United States, which leads an international coalition meant to protect Red Sea shipping, has since mid-January struck Houthi targets in Yemen.

On Friday, the US military said it had “conducted self-defence strikes against three Houthi underground storage facilities”.

US Central Command said its forces had also destroyed four drones and registered four anti-ship ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis towards the Red Sea the same day.


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