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Latest Ship Under Attack in the Red Sea Hijacked by Somali Pirates

The latest ship to come under attack in the Red Sea near the Yemeni coast has turned out to have been hijacked by Somali pirates.

The initial reports suggested the MV Ruenm a bulk carrier sailing under a Maltese flag, had become the latest target of the Houthis who vowed to strike any vessel bound for Israeli ports.

Now, reports over the weekend are saying that the ship was heading to Somalia. It had sent a distress signal on Thursday saying six people had boarded it and the Indian Navy sent an anti-privacy patrol ship and a patrol aircraft to track the ship’s movement, the AP reported. So far, nobody has claimed responsibility for the hijacking.

Earlier, the Telegraph reported that the hijacked ship was heading to the Yemeni coast, suggesting there could be cooperation between the Houthis and the Somali pirates.

The string of Houthi missile and drone attacks on vessels in the waters off the Yemeni coast have triggered an industry response that has basically consisted of a warning for vessels to avoid the Bab el Mandeb strait.

Maersk Tankers, a Danish firm separate from the global shipping giant Moller-Maersk, said it had advised its fuel tankers to bypass the strait to avoid an attack. Then Moller-Maersk said it would stop moving container ships through the Red Sea until further notice, following an attack on one of its ships.

MSC, the largest container shipper, also said it would no longer use the Red Sea and the Suez Canal after it, too, became a target. The company said the change will be in effect “until the Red Sea passage is safe.”

Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, meanwhile, said last Friday it had paused all sailings through the Red Sea until today. “Then we will decide for the period thereafter,” a spokesperson for the company said.

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Not using the Suez Canal means container ships and other vessels would now have to go around Cape Good Hope, which adds days to the journey and, as a result, increases freight costs.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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