Flooded tanker believed to have sunk off Yemen

Lavant partially submerged off the coast of Yemen
Lavant partially submerged off the coast of YemenSovcomflot

Reuters reports that a commercial vessel that suffered water ingress in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen late last month is believed to have already sunk. The news outlet said security and intelligence sources confirmed that the 30-year-old product tanker Lavant went adrift and sank after it was abandoned, though it remains unclear if the ship still had any fuel on board when it was lost.

Lavant's crew first reported the flooding on June 22 while they were approximately 100 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun. The crew then abandoned ship upon realising the flooding could not be controlled. They were subsequently picked up by the Gabonese-flagged NS Africa, a crude oil tanker formerly owned by Russia's Sovcomflot.

Sources believe the loss of Lavant was not due to hostile action by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have otherwise been responsible for the attacks on shipping in the area of the Red Sea where the tanker was last seen. Sovcomflot meanwhile claimed responsibility for the rescue effort despite no longer having any legal connection with NS Africa, which is now operated by a Dubai-based firm.

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