On January 3, Yemeni Ansar Allah (known as the Houthis) seized a UAE-flagged vessel in the Red Sea off the coast of al-Hudaydah port. The Saudi-led coalition accused the armed group of “armed piracy”.
According to the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, the attack took place around midnight.
According to Brigadier General Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, the cargo ship was named “Rwabee” and was carrying medical and health equipment from a dismantled Saudi field hospital in the island of Socotra to the port of Jizan under the UAE flag.
“The Houthi militia must immediately release the ship, otherwise the coalition forces shall take all necessary measures and procedures to deal with this violation, including the use of force,” Brigadier-General Turki al-Malki said in a statement on Monday.
The Yemeni Armed Forces spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya al-Sari’, confirmed the seizure, adding that more details would be provided. According to Brig. Gen. Yahya al-Sari’, the vessel “entered Yemeni waters without authorisation” and was carrying out “hostile acts”.
1-The Yemeni armed forces are seizing an Emirati military cargo ship with military equipment on board that entered Yemeni waters without any license and engaged in hostilities targeting the security and stability of the Yemeni people.
— Yahya Sare’e (@Yahya_Saree) January 3, 2022
RWABEE has an IMO number 9834351. It is a cargo ship registered and sailing under the flag of the United Arab Emirates. Its gross tonnage is 1304 and deadweight is 1666. RWABEE was built in 2021 and is operated by BERJAYA DOCKYARD.
The Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes on al-Hudaydah on a regular basis despite the UN-sponsored ceasefire. The coalition claims that the Houthis launch many of their missiles, suicide drones and booby-trapped boats from the province.
On December 20, the US Navy 5th Fleet seized a large arms shipment from a stateless fishing vessel during a flag verification boarding in the North Arabian Sea, according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
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