Yemeni Houthi rebels seize car carrier in Red Sea
Officials in Israel have reported that elements of Yemen’s Houthi rebel militia hijacked a commercial vessel while it was underway in the Red Sea on Sunday, November 19.
The Bahamas-flagged vehicle carrier Galaxy Leader was en route to India when it was boarded by armed perpetrators off the coast of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on the afternoon (local time) of Sunday.
Israeli officials added that the vehicle carrier is British-owned and operated by Japanese shipping company NYK Line. However, a spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthis said that the vessel was seized due to its affiliation with Israel.
The rebels had earlier stated that they will target ships linked to or owned by Israelis in retaliation for the ongoing hostilities in Gaza between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant organisation Hamas.
Galaxy Leader is owned by Isle of Man-registered Galaxy Maritime and commercially managed by Ray Car Carriers, a company associated with Israeli businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar.
An official of the Japanese government said that negotiations are underway to secure the safe release of the vessel’s 25-strong crew, which include Bulgarian, Filipino, Mexican, Romanian, and Ukrainian nationals.