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UK Ship Comes Under Attack in the Red Sea

A UK-registered vessel has become the target of attack off the Yemeni coast, with military authorities saying that the crew had abandoned the vessel.

The UK’s Maritime Trade Operations authority reported the incident and said that military authorities remained on the scene to provide assistance, adding advice for ships in the area to transit with caution and report any suspicious activity to the authority.

Reuters, for its part, cited British maritime security services provider Ambrey as confirming the attack on the Belize-flagged ship that was operated by a Lebanese entity.

"The partially laden vessel briefly slowed from 10 to six knots and deviated course, and contacted the Djiboutian Navy, before returning to her previous course and speed," the security services firm said.

This is the latest in a constantly extending string of attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on ships passing through the Bab el-Mandeb strait between Africa and the Middle East. The attacks began last November in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza.

The U.S. and UK sent their military to the Red Sea to prevent the attacks and they carried out several attacks on ground targets in Yemen. This has not stopped the Houthi attacks, which have redrawn the global maritime transport map.

Despite the stronger U.S. and UK military presence in the Red Sea, many shipping operators have chosen to reroute their vessels around Africa to avoid the risk of attacks. This has added days to journeys between Asia and Europe and has increased fuel consumption and overall transportation costs.

There have even been reports about the increase in emissions that have resulted from the rerouting of ships from the Red Sea.


In energy, the Red Sea situation has prompted European oil buyers to turn West instead of East for their crude, with exports from the United States on the rise, while Middle Eastern oil moved East, to Asia, via the Persian Gulf.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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