The Bahamas-flagged Galaxy Leader, a truck carrier connected to an Israeli tycoon, was taken over by Houthi militants from Yemen on Sunday in the Red Sea. The twenty-five crewmen of the ship, representing different countries, were captured.
Supported by Iran, the Houthi rebels assert that the ship’s connection to Israel is the reason for its arrest and have pledged to target more ships associated with Israel until the completion of Israel’s campaign against the Hamas rulers in Gaza.
At first, Israeli officials said the ship was operated by Japanese people but owned by the British. Public shipping records, however, showed ties to Abraham “Rami” Ungar, a wealthy Israeli who formed Ray Car Carriers.
Ungar was informed about the situation but chose to wait to comment until more information became accessible. Noting that they are treating the crew members “following their Islamic values,” the Houthi rebels gave no further information.
The Israeli military described the seizure as a “very grave incident of global consequence.” In contrast, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced it as an “Iranian act of terror.”
The intricate nature of international shipping complicates ownership facts; in 2021, an explosion on a vessel owned by Ungar’s company occurred, which the Israeli media attributed to Iran.
US defence authorities verified that the Houthi rebels, using tactics similar to those used by Iran, took control of the Galaxy Leader by rappelling from a helicopter.
US warships have intercepted drones or missiles from Yemen in the last month, believing them to be aimed at Israel or a threat to US vessels.
With its Automatic Identification System tracker turned off, the ship was located southwest of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to satellite monitoring data. About 150 kilometres off the coast of Hodeida in Yemen, there was a hijacking.
Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict, there has been an increased military presence in the Red Sea, a vital commercial route.
Concerns about a wider regional conflict grow as Israel’s battle against Hamas gets more intense. Before now, the Houthis have vowed to attack Israeli ships in Yemeni waters.
The incident highlights the growing tensions in the area and sparks concerns about additional interruptions to marine traffic.
Reference- Alarabiya News
Source: Maritime Shipping News