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29 May, 2024 00:52

Ship taking on water after Houthi strike – Reuters

A Greek-owned cargo ship was hit by missiles fired from Yemen on Tuesday
Ship taking on water after Houthi strike – Reuters

The Greek-owned bulk carrier MV Laax is taking on water after it was hit by Houthi missiles off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, Reuters has reported, citing security services.

The Houthis – a Shia Islamist group that controls a large part of war-torn Yemen – has been attacking merchant vessels since October, calling it an act of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

According to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Houthis fired five anti-ship ballistic missiles off the Red Sea coast. The Marshall Islands-flagged MV Laax was reportedly struck by the three of the missiles, but continued its voyage. The ship did not report any injuries.

The Houthis warned in March that their attacks on ships supposedly linked to the US, UK and Israel “will have a great impact.” The militants have vowed to continue disrupting shipping along the vital trade route, in response to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. 

The Seatrade Maritime News website reported this month that the Houthis had managed to expand the range of their activities, with a recent strike on the container ship MSC Orion around 170 miles south of Yemen’s island of Socotra.

The US has responded by carrying out strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, with the UK occasionally joining in. The EU has dispatched its own vessels to patrol the Red Sea and protect shipping lanes.

According to Lloyd’s List, weekly transit through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, has fallen by 60% due to companies being forced to reroute their vessels.