A crew extinguishes the fire of an oil tanker hit by a Houthi missile off Yemen after the US targeted the rebels in an airstrike.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Crew aboard a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker that was hit by a missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels extinguished an hours-long fire on the stricken ship Saturday sparked by the attack, authorities said.
The attack on Marlin Luanda further complicated the Red Sea crisis caused by attacks by Iranian-backed rebels The Israeli war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The tanker was carrying Russian-produced naphtha, a flammable oil, pushing Moscow further into a conflict that it has so far blamed on the United States.
Early on Saturday, US forces carried out a strike against an anti-ship missile launched by the Houthis that was targeting the Red Sea and was ready for launch, the US military’s Central Command said. This attack came after the American destroyer USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, She had to shoot down a Houthi missile that was targeting her.
Singapore-based trading company Trafigura said the Marlin Luanda burned for hours in the Gulf of Aden until it was extinguished on Saturday. She added that her crew, consisting of 25 Indian citizens and two Sri Lankans, were still trying to fight the fire caused by the missile attack. She added that no one was harmed as a result of the explosion.
“We are pleased to confirm that all crew members on board the Marlin Luanda are safe and that the fire in the cargo tank has been completely extinguished,” Trafigura said. “The ship is now sailing towards a safe port.”
The Indian Navy said the guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam was helping the crew of the ship Marlin Luanda fight the fire. It published photos showing the fire still burning on Saturday, likely fueled by naphtha on board the ship.
The company said the ship, operated by a British company, was carrying Russian naphtha bound for Singapore. It described the flammable oil as having been purchased below the maximum price limits set by the G7 sanctions imposed on Russia over its ongoing war on Ukraine. It is not clear what environmental impact the attack caused.
The Houthi military spokesman, Brig. General Yahya Sarie claimed responsibility for the attack on the Marlin Luanda ship in a recorded statement late on Friday, describing it as a “British oil ship.” He insisted that such attacks would continue.
Since November, rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea due to Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas. But they have often targeted ships with weak or unclear links to Israel, endangering shipping on a key global trade route between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Since the air campaign began, the rebels now say they will target American and British ships as well. Wednesday, Two US-flagged ships carrying goods for the US Departments of Defense and State were attacked by the HouthisWhich forced a US Navy warship to drop some projectiles.
China, which relies on maritime trade through the region, called for calm. The United States has sought to persuade China to pressure Iran, as Beijing remains a major buyer of Iranian oil subject to Western sanctions.
But Russia has so far condemned the US and UK for carrying out strikes targeting the Houthis, while also meeting with the rebel group in Moscow in recent days.
The US Navy’s commander in chief in the Middle East told the Associated Press On Monday, the Houthi attacks were the worst since then The so-called tanker war in the 1980s. It culminated in a day-long naval battle between Washington and Tehran that also involved the US Navy An Iranian passenger plane was accidentally shot downKilling 290 people in 1988.
Meanwhile, authorities on Saturday reported a separate incident in which a ship in the Arabian Sea reported seeing people armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades off their ship.
“The small vehicle approached within 300 meters (about 985 feet),” the British Army’s British Commercial Operations Agency said. He added, “The security team on board the boat fired warning shots, and after an exchange of fire, the small boat then retreated.”
She added that everyone on board was fine. Private security company Ambrey described the incident as involving a small “Somali-style” boat backed by a larger mother ship. As Houthi attacks have escalated, there has been an increase in suspected Somali pirate activity as well.
Associated Press writer Ijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.