PortandTerminal.com, November 18, 2019
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – Reuters and Al Jazeera are reporting that Yemeni Houthi forces seized a “suspect vessel” in the Red Sea. The Houthis are saying though that it will be released it if it proves to belong to South Korea after legal procedures are completed.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency, Saudi Press Agency, quoted coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki as saying on Monday that Houthis seized the ship while it was towing a South Korean oil drilling rig on Sunday.
Al-Maliki said the vessel was hijacked by armed Houthis travelling on two boats.
Al-Malki said the “attack” threatens vital shipping routes in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, used for oil shipments from the Gulf to Europe, as well as goods from Asia to Europe.
He did not say how many crew members were on board the seized ship.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a senior rebel official, said: “Yemeni coast guards … are checking to see whether [the vessel] belongs to the countries of aggression or to South Korea, in which case it will be released after completing legal procedures. The crews are being well treated.”
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed al-Attab, reporting from the capital Sanaa, said a Houthi source told him South Korea demanded the release of its vessel.
“Houthis said they would release it after carrying out paperwork to confirm that this oil rig belongs to South Korea. The source told me the seizure is a usual measure that they are carrying out when they find any foreign vessel in the Yemeni regional waters,” he said.
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