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3 Jan, 2022 11:45

Cargo ship ‘hijacked’ in Red Sea

Riyadh threatens military force against ‘terrorist’ Houthis over seizure of cargo vessel
Cargo ship ‘hijacked’ in Red Sea

Saudi Arabia has claimed that Yemen’s Houthi rebels have seized a ship with medical supplies in the Red Sea. The Houthis argued that the vessel was carrying “military equipment.”

A spokesperson for the Saudi-led military coalition, Brigadier General Turki Al-Malki, said that the UAE-flagged cargo vessel Rwabee fell victim to “hijacking” off the coast of Yemen’s western Al Hudaydah Governorate late Sunday night.

“The terrorist Houthi militia will bear full responsibility as a result of its criminal act of piracy against the ship, which violates the customary international humanitarian law,” Al-Malki said.

“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 spokesperson added.

According to Al-Malki, the ship was traveling from Yemen’s Socotra island to the Saudi Red Sea port of Jizan. He said the vessel was carrying ambulances and other medical equipment that were used in a Saudi-run field hospital on the island.

Yahya Saree, a spokesperson for the Houthi forces, confirmed the seizure of the ship, claiming it had sailed through Yemeni waters without authorization and carried “military equipment on board.”

The ship “engaged in hostilities targeting the security and stability of the Yemeni people,” Saree wrote on Twitter, promising to provide more details later on Monday.

According to ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com, Rwabee left the Saudi port of Jubail in the Persian Gulf in early November and was expected to arrive in Jizan on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia has led the coalition that intervened in the Yemeni Civil War in 2015 on behalf of ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.