Houthi rebels seize car carrier with 25 crew on board

Yemeni Houthi rebels have seized a vessel managed by Ray Car Carriers in the Red Sea, an act condemned by Israel as "Iranian terrorism".

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A view of the British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship Galaxy Leader, which was reported to have been captured by Houthis in the southern Red Sea, in this handout image taken near Queensland, Australia November 27, 2018. Owen Foley/Handout via REUTERS

The Houthi rebels are reported to have seized the car carrier Galaxy Leader near Yemen in the Southern Red Sea on Sunday.

“The Yemeni Naval Forces managed to capture an Israeli ship in the depths of the Red Sea taking it to the Yemeni coast,” Houthi military spokesman Yehya Sare’e said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Israeli Defence Forces also posting on X said: “The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence. The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship.”

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said it strongly condemned what it described as an “Iranian attack against an international vessel”.

“The ship, which is owned by a British company and is operated by a Japanese firm, was hijacked with Iran guidance by the Yemenite Houthi militia,” the statement said.

According to the Equasis database the 2002-built Galaxy Leader is managed by Ray Car Carriers in the Isle of Man, and owned by Galaxy Maritime, which is listed as c/o Ray Car Carriers Isle of Man office. The vessels i flagged-with Bahamas and chartered by Japanese owner NYK.

Israel said that the vessel had 25 crew members on board of various nationalities including Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Filipino and Mexican. No Israelis were reported to be on board the Galaxy Leader.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Sare’e said, “The Yemeni armed forces deal with the ship’s crew in accordance with the principle and values ​​of our Islamic religion.”

Ray Car Carriers was founded by Abraham “Rami” Ungar, who is known as one of the richest men in Israel. Ungar was reported as telling The Associated Press he was aware of the incident but couldn’t comment as he awaited details.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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