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Houthis Strike Hong Kong Tanker in the Red Sea

Houthi forces have struck a tanker owned and operated by a company based in Hong Kong, the U.S. Central Command has reported, calling the vessel “Chinese”.

The Huang Pu, which was sailing under a Panamanian flag, was targeted with five anti-ship missiles on Saturday, CENTCOM said. The ship sent a distress signal but did not ask for assistance, the U.S. Naval Institute cited Central Command as saying.

It appears that only the fifth missile found its target, causing a small fire on board, which was put out by the crew.

According to a Maritime Executive report, the Huang Pu was formerly owned by a British business entity, before it became property of Hong Kong-registered Hera Gam. The company only owns the one tanker, the publication said. It also added that while CENTCOM had described the tanker as Chinese, a lot of Hong Kong companies were anonymously created, with owners from various nationalities.

The Yemeni Houthis have declared they would strike UK, U.S., and other Western ships but not touch Chinese and Russian vessels. Saudi tankers have also been excluded from their target list.

The group earlier this month warned of more attacks after a British-owned ship sank following missile strikes.

“Yemen will continue to sink more British ships, and any repercussions or other damages will be added to Britain’s bill,” Yemen’s foreign minister, Hussein al-Ezzi, said in an X post in early March, as cited by The Telegraph.

“It is a rogue state that attacks Yemen and partners with America in sponsoring ongoing crimes against civilians in Gaza,” al-Ezzy added.

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The maritime transport disruption that the attacks have led to is diverting ship traffic along a longer route between Asia and Europe, pushing global demand for oil higher, and tightening inventories. The situation may well contribute to a deficit later in the year, according to some analysts.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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