Crew abandoning missile-hit cargo ship in Yemen

Crew abandoning missile-hit cargo ship in Yemen
  • By Tom Spender & Joshua Cheetham
  • BBC News

image caption,

Owner of a Barbados-flagged bona fide trust registered at an address in Liberia (file photo)

Some crew members have abandoned ship and others are missing after a missile attack on a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden in the Gulf of Yemen, maritime security firm Ambre says.

The ship's manager said the True Confidence was moving with fire on board after being hit at around 09:30 GMT.

The BBC's US partner CBS, citing US officials, said the attack may have caused casualties.

Yemen's Houthi movement, which has been attacking shipping, has not commented.

The pro-Iran group says the attack was carried out in support of the Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Before Wednesday's incident, True Hope had been hailed by a group calling itself the “Yemen Navy” and told to change course, Ambrey said.

According to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency, nearby ships reported a loud bang and a large plume of smoke.

The attack occurred 50 nautical miles (93 km) southwest of Aden, Yemen, a spokesman for the ship's owners and managers said in a statement.

A spokesman said he had no information on the condition of the ship's crew.

A US official told Reuters news agency that smoke could be seen billowing from the True Hope and a lifeboat was seen in the water.

The UKMTO said the ship had been decommissioned and was no longer under command.

Rescue and rescue operations were underway and some personnel were on lifeboats, the European Union's Maritime Safety Center-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) said naval vessels were providing assistance.

True Confidence is owned by True Confidence Shipping SA, registered at an address in Liberia, operated in Greece by Third January Maritime Ltd. and has no current relationship with any US company, according to a spokeswoman for the owners and managers.

It had a crew of 20 including one Indian, four Vietnamese and 15 Filipino nationals. Three armed guards – two from Sri Lanka and one from Nepal – were on board.

According to tracking data, the bulk carrier was traveling from China's Lianyungang to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and was carrying a cargo of steel products and trucks, the spokesman said.

On Sunday, the Belize-flagged cargo ship Rubimar sank in the Red Sea, two weeks after it was hit by missiles fired by the Houthis. It was the first ship to be sunk since Houthi attacks began in November.

When attacked, Rubimar was near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea. The crew was rescued and the ship slowly began taking on water.

It was carrying a cargo of 21 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which the US military said posed an environmental hazard in the Red Sea.

US and British forces have responded to drone and missile attacks on merchant ships transiting the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, targeting Houthi weapons and infrastructure in western Yemen.

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