Ship catches fire after attack off Yemen

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A merchant ship caught fire after being attacked off Yemen, a British maritime security agency said on Thursday, following months of attacks in the area by Iran-backed Houthis.

The ship was hit by “two unknown projectiles, which has resulted in a fire on board”, said the navy-run United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which monitors security incidents.

According to security firm Ambrey, the ship was hit by a missile in the Gulf of Aden, south of war-torn Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.

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“Merchant shipping is advised to stay well clear of the affected vessel and halt crew deck movements,” Ambrey said, adding that the ship “aligned with the Houthi target profile.”

Separately, UKMTO reported an explosion close to a merchant vessel in the Red Sea about 80 nautical miles northwest of Yemen’s Houthi-held Hodeida port, with no damage or casualties.

The Houthis have launched scores of drone and missile attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November.

They say their targeting of the vital trade route is in support of Palestinians during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, the Houthis struck the Tutor, a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, southwest of Hodeida. They claimed to have used seaborne and aerial drones, and ballistic missiles.

The US military’s Central Command later said the Tutor had been struck by a Houthi “unmanned surface vessel” that “caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room.”

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