Oil tanker hit by missile off Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis have launched dozens of attacks on vessels in and around the Red Sea since November in solidarity with the people of Palestine [Getty]

A crude oil tanker was hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen’s southwestern city of Mokha overlooking the strategic Bab al-Mandeb strait, maritime security firm Ambrey said on Saturday.

“A Panama-flagged crude oil tanker was reportedly ‘attacked'” about 10 nautical miles southwest of Mokha, Ambrey said, adding that information “indicated the vessel was hit by a missile and that there was a fire in the steering gear flat”.

The firm later said it had “received information that indicated that the tanker had received assistance. One of the vessel’s steering units was reportedly functional.”

The British Navy’s maritime security agency said earlier it had received a report of a vessel “sustaining slight damage after being struck by an unknown object”.

“The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call,” United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) added.

It said the incident occurred 76 nautical miles (140 kilometres) off Yemen’s Hodeidah but did not specify the type of vessel involved.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control much of Yemen, have launched dozens of attacks on vessels in and around the Red Sea since November in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in war-torn Gaza.

The Houthis say they are targeting vessels either linked to Israel or heading to Israeli ports to pile pressure on global powers to end the brutal war on Gaza, which has killed over 35,000 people, most of them women and children.

Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sanaa, said they supported “the heroic jihadist operation” of Hamas’ attack on 7 October.

The rebel attacks have prompted reprisal strikes by US and British forces and the formation of an international coalition to protect the vital shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Despite these efforts, Houthis have not eased their drone and missile attacks.

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