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US-owned carrier struck off Yemen’s port of Aden: Security firm

Commercial ships are docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen, February 25, 2023. (File photo by Reuters)

A US-owned bulk carrier has been hit off the southwestern coast of the port city of Aden in what appears to be another retaliatory operation by Yemen’s armed forces.

“A nearby vessel reported an explosion in the proximity of the Barbados-flagged, publicly US-owned bulk carrier,” said the British maritime security firm Ambrey.

“Reports confirmed the bulker had been struck and sustained damage,” Ambrey stated. It added that a rescue operation was “underway with parts of the crew already in lifeboats.”

“Ambrey observed an Indian Navy military vessel drifting in the vicinity of the last known position of the affected vessel (...) Further reports stated that rescue and salvage operations were underway,” it said.

Reuters quoted a shipping source as saying that three crew members were missing from the bulk carrier True Confidence and four others have been badly burned. The shipping source, who declined to be identified, said the vessel appeared to have been abandoned.

A US defense official said smoke was seen coming from True Confidence. The official, who declined to be named, told Reuters a lifeboat had also been seen in the water near the ship.

Yahya Saree, the spokesman for Yemen’s armed forces, said the military attacked the ship with “appropriate missiles.” The strike was accurate, he said.

The operation came after the ship’s crew rejected warning messages from the Yemeni naval forces, Saree said.

Saree urged all ships sailing through the region to respond to calls from the Yemeni naval forces.

Yemen’s armed forces have been striking Israeli-linked ships since November 2023 in a campaign to force the Israeli regime to end its brutal aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The United States and Britain have been carrying out strikes against Yemen since early January to force Yemen to stop its strikes on Israel-linked ships. That has caused Yemenis to expand their maritime strikes to target ships owned by the two countries.

At least “15 commercial ships have been impacted” since November, including four US ships, Pete Nguyen, the US Department of Defense spokesman, said on March 1.

The flurry of strikes has caused several shipping firms to suspend passage through the Red Sea, which usually carries around 12 percent of global trade.

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