on Thursday 19 May, 2022

Ship attacked off Yemen’s Hodeidah port: British military group

A picture taken on May 14, 2019, shows a general view of the Hodeidah port in the Yemeni port city, around 230 kilometres west of the capital Sanaa. (File photo)
by : The Associated Press

A Hong Kong-flagged sailboat is reported to have come under attack on Thursday off the coast of Yemen, though the circumstances of the incident remained unclear, officials said.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations group said the attack happened off Hodeidah, a contested port city that has been a flashpoint in Yemen’s yearslong war.

It said an investigation was ongoing into the incident, without elaborating.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, told The Associated Press that the vessel involved was the Lakota, a 62-foot (19-meter) sailboat flagged out of Hong Kong.

Dryad said that those on board were sailing into international water and were reportedly safe.

It wasn’t immediately clear who owned the vessel or how many people were on board at the time of the incident.

Satellite-tracking data from MarineTraffic.com analyzed by the AP showed the Lakota just west of the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea between Eritrea on the African continent and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.

The vessel had been in Djibouti before sailing close to Yemen’s coast.

The vessel also had not turned on its Automatic Identification System tracker, which Dryad described as “very strange,” given that the Red Sea is a major international shipping route.

“Several attempts were made to board her,” Dryad said. “Reports indicate she managed to get away.”

The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet said it was aware of the attack, but declined to immediately comment further.

The Arab Coalition has been thwarting the Iran-backed Houthi militia who have long held the Yemeni capital of Sanaa as well as Hodeidah.

The incident marked the latest at-sea attack amid the conflict. In January, the Houthis seized the UAE-flagged ship Rwabee.

The ship’s Indian crew were released last month after the Houthis and the Arab Coalition reached a truce during the holy month of Ramadan.

The fragile truce is still ongoing now.