April 13, 2024

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The ship's crew abandons a cargo ship hit by a missile off Yemen

The ship's crew abandons a cargo ship hit by a missile off Yemen
  • Written by Tom Spender and Joshua Cheatham
  • BBC News

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The owner of the Barbados-branded company True Confidence is registered at an address in Liberia (archive photo)

Maritime security company Ambrey said some crew members had abandoned ship while others were reported missing after a missile attack on a cargo ship off the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen.

The ship's manager said that the “True Confidence” ship was drifting due to a fire on board after being bombed at around 09:30 GMT.

CBS, the BBC's partner in the United States, quoted US officials as saying that the attack would likely cause deaths.

The Yemeni Houthi movement, which attacks ships, did not comment.

The Iran-backed group says the attacks are a show of support for the Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Embry said that before Wednesday's incident, the “True Confidence” ship, which flies the Barbados flag, was welcomed by a group calling itself the “Yemeni Navy” and asked to change its course.

Nearby ships then reported a loud bang and a large plume of smoke, according to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency.

A spokesman for the ship's owners and managers said in a statement that the attack occurred about 50 nautical miles (93 kilometers) southwest of the Yemeni city of Aden.

The spokesman said he had no information about the condition of the ship's crew.

A US official told Reuters news agency that smoke was seen rising from the ship True Confidence and a lifeboat was seen in the water.

The UKMTO said the ship had been abandoned and was no longer in command.

The European Union's Maritime Security Center for the Horn of Africa said rescue and salvage operations were underway and some crew members were in lifeboats, adding that naval vessels were providing assistance.

True Confidence is owned by True Confidence Shipping SA, registered at an address in Liberia, managed by Third January Maritime Ltd in Greece and has no current connection with any US entity, according to a spokesperson for the owners and directors.

Its crew consisted of 20 people, including an Indian, four Vietnamese and 15 Filipinos. There were also three armed guards on board, two from Sri Lanka and one from Nepal.

The spokesman said that the bulk carrier was sailing to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from Lianyungang in China, and was carrying a shipment of steel products and trucks.

The Belize-flagged cargo ship Rubimar sank on Sunday in the Red Sea, two weeks after it was hit by missiles fired by the Houthis. This was the first ship to sink since the Houthi attacks began in November.

The ship Rubymar was close to the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, when it was attacked. The crew was rescued and the ship began slowly taking on water.

It was carrying a shipment of 21 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which the US military said poses an environmental hazard in the Red Sea.

US and British forces responded to drone and missile attacks on commercial ships passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by targeting Houthi weapons and infrastructure in western Yemen.

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