Houthi supporters during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen May 24, 2024

Cargo Ship Damaged by Two Houthi Missile Attacks

Wednesday, 05/29/2024

A bulk carrier already taking on water after a Houthi missile attack off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday has reported further damage from a second strike.

Maritime security and shipping sources earlier in day identified vessel as the Marshall Islands-flagged Laax.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks in the Red Sea region since November after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called on Muslims to blockade Israel trade. Houthis since have expanded to the Indian Ocean.

They have sunk one ship, seized another vessel, killed two crew members and disrupted global shipping by forcing vessels to avoid the nearby Suez Canal and reroute trade around Africa.

The attacks have disrupted the strategic Red Sea lanes, that are the shortest shipping route from Asia to Europe. The United States and Britain launched several air strikes on Houthi military targets, but the attacks against shipping continue.

Crew members involved in Tuesday's attacks are safe and their vessel is proceeding to its next port of call, the UK maritime security body said in the updated incident report. The ship's next scheduled port of call was in the United Arab Emirates.

The additional damage occurred 33 nautical miles northwest of Al Mukha, Yemen, the report said.

The Laax issued a distress call earlier on Tuesday, saying it had sustained damage to the cargo hold and was taking on water about 54 nautical miles southwest of Yemen's port city of Hodeidah, British security firm Ambrey said.

Greek shipping sources said the Laax was sailing to a port nearby to assess the extent of the damage. Reuters was not immediately able to determine if that was in the UAE.

Its Greece-based operator Grehel Ship Management did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

As an Iranian proxy group, the Houthis began attacking maritime commercial traffic in mid-November after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called on Muslim countries to blockade Israel. The attacks were first limited to the Red Sea but later expanded to the Indian Ocean.

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