S. Korean officials confirm three vessels seized by Houthis in Red Sea

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South Korean officials confirmed on Tuesday that two vessels and a Saudi-flagged towing vessel were seized by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Sunday south of the Red Sea.

According to a report carried by AFP, the Houthis acknowledged seizing three vessels.

Seoul’s foreign ministry said a South Korean dredger was being towed by one Korean and one Saudi-flagged tug when they were seized.

It added that a total of 16 crew members, two of them South Korean, had been taken to the Red Sea port of Saleef, where they were being held by the Houthis.

“All of our citizens... are healthy and safe,” ministry officials said in a statement. “We are doing our very best for the early release of our citizens.”

Seoul has sent the South Korean navy ship Cheonghae, which had been on anti-piracy standby off the coast of Oman, to waters near where the incident took place.

The Arab Coalition’s spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said on Monday a vessel “Rabigh-3” was hijacked by armed Houthis traveling on two boats.

Al-Maliki said that the naval vessel was towing a drilling rig owned by a South Korean company.

He reaffirmed that the Iran-backed Houthis’ actions pose a real threat to international shipping and trade and that the hijacking is a threat to the security of Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the South Red Sea.

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