An oil tanker burned due to a Houthi missile attack
The UK government said Britain and its allies “reserve the right to respond appropriately” after an oil tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Aden, leading to a fire on board.
The Yemeni armed forces claimed that they targeted a British oil ship on Friday, but shipping data shows that the ship, the Marlin Luanda, is sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands.
Singapore-based multinational Trafigura said the safety of the crew on board the vessel, which it operates on its behalf, was its “top priority” and naval vessels were en route to assist on Friday.
A government spokesman said on Friday evening: “We are aware of reports that the ship Marlin Luanda, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, has suffered damage from an attack in the Gulf of Aden. Current reports indicate that there were no casualties and that nearby coalition ships are at the scene.
“We have made clear that any attacks on commercial shipping are completely unacceptable and that the UK and our allies reserve the right to respond appropriately.”
On Friday, the Houthi rebels announced that they had hit the oil tanker with a missile, causing it to catch fire.
The group’s naval forces, based in Yemen, attacked the Marlin Luanda ship in the Gulf of Aden, according to Yahya Saree, the military spokesman for the Iran-backed group.
He added, “The strike was direct and led to the ship burning.”
US officials told CBS News that the tanker was hit by an anti-ship ballistic missile and a naval vessel was responding to a distress signal. US officials said no casualties were reported.
UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported an incident 60 nautical miles southeast of Aden on Friday.
This comes after a previous incident in which there were reports of two missiles exploding in the water.
UKMTO said authorities had been informed of the latest strike and were responding, warning other vessels to cross with caution and to report any suspicious activity.
A Trafigura spokesperson said in a statement: “Earlier on January 26, the Marlin Luanda, a petroleum products tanker operating for Trafigura, was hit by a missile while crossing the Red Sea.
“Firefighting equipment is deployed on board the ship to extinguish and control the fire that broke out in one of the cargo tanks on the starboard side.”
”Crew safety is our top priority. We are in contact with the ship and carefully monitoring the situation. Military ships are in the area to provide assistance.
The Houthis It has repeatedly launched attacks on ships in the Red Sea since November in protest against the war waged by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“Illegal and unacceptable”
They have often targeted ships with fragile or no clear ties to Israel, endangering shipping on a major global trade route.
In addition to numerous air strikes on key Houthi targets, coalition forces launched The UK and US are also targeting key figures In the armed group supported by Iran with sanctions.
The second series of British and US air strikes carried out at the beginning of the week appears to have done little to deter Houthi action.
Earlier on Friday, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: “We continue to call on (the Houthis) to reverse such action. “We are clear that this is illegal and unacceptable.”
Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron is currently completing his trip to the Middle East, in a diplomatic attempt to ease tensions as the Israeli attack on Gaza continues.