Abandoned Ship in Gulf of Aden Waits Unknown Fate

News Agencies | 2024-02-22 05:22 AM UTC
Abandoned Ship in Gulf of Aden Waits Unknown Fate


A commercial vessel abandoned four days ago in the Gulf of Aden after missiles fired by Yemen's Houthis hit it is still floating despite taking in water and could be towed to nearby Djibouti, industry sources said on Wednesday. Shipping risks have increased due to repeated drone and missile strikes in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab Strait by the Iran-aligned Houthis since November. U.S. and British forces have responded with several strikes on Houthi facilities but have so far failed to halt the attacks. The crew of the Belize-flagged Rubymar abandoned the vessel after it was hit on Sunday and were rescued by another commercial ship. One of the sources said, "Djibouti is the only immediate option where some repairs or recovery would be feasible. It is too risky for a ship in that condition to be towed too far or in more open waters."


Yemen's Houthi group said Wednesday it held "constructive" talks with the European Union on the Red Sea security. Hussein al-Azzi, a Houthi official in their foreign ministry, said that talks mediated by Norway were held with the E.U. "We affirmed that maritime navigation is safe," he added at a press conference in Sanaa. On Monday, the E.U. formally launched a naval mission, Mission Aspides, to protect commercial vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks.Al-Azzi said that Israeli, U.S., and British vessels are prohibited from sailing in the Red Sea. He indicated that 283 ships crossed the Red Sea safely. The Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November. 


On Tuesday, the Department of Defense acknowledged that an American MQ-9 Reaper drone went down on Monday in the Red Sea off the coast of Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen."Initial indications are that it was shot down by a Houthi surface-to-air missile," Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuesday during a press briefing, adding that at that time it had not been recovered. The Navy and coalition partners remain engaged with Houthis as the group continues to launch attacks against military and commercial vessels in the region in "solidarity" with Palestinians in Gaza, which Israel has been bombing since October of last year. The Houthis also shot down a U.S. drone in November last year.


French warships in the Red Sea have intercepted and destroyed two drones in attacks coming from Yemen, the French defense ministry said on Tuesday. "During the night of February 19th to 20th, French Multi-Mission Frigates detected multiple drone attacks originating from Yemen in their respective patrol zones in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Red Sea. Two drones were engaged and destroyed," it said.