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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ship Manager Calls on Houthis to Free Galaxy Leader Crew

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 18, 2024

Galaxy Leader (Photo: Screenshot from video shared by Yemeni Armed Forces)

Galaxy Leader (Photo: Screenshot from video shared by Yemeni Armed Forces)

Managers of the Galaxy Leader cargo ship on Tuesday renewed calls for the release of the vessel's 25 crew being held by Yemen's Houthi militants for seven months.

The militants used helicopters to attack the Bahamas-flagged ship on Nov. 19. They captured the Bulgarian ship master and chief officer, along with 17 Filipinos and other sailors from Ukraine, Mexico and Romania, the ship managers said.

"There is nothing to be gained by the Houthis in keeping the 25 crew members," said the ship managers, who requested that they be released to their families without further delay.

The Houthis have used drones and missiles to assault ships in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden since November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war. Since then, they have sunk one ship, seized another vessel and killed three seafarers in separate attacks.

The International Chamber of Shipping, which represents ship owners, has called the Houthi attacks "unacceptable acts of aggression which threaten the lives of innocent seafarers and the safety of merchant shipping".

Last week, Houthis notched up direct strikes on two ships - the Liberan-flagged Tutor coal carrier and Palau-flagged Verbena, which was loaded with wood construction material.

Those assaults prompted security experts to note a significant increase in the effectiveness of the Iran-aligned militants' drone and missile attacks.

Rescuers evacuated crews from the damaged ships due to safety risks. One sailor from the Tutor remains missing. Both ships are now adrift and vulnerable to further attack or sinking.

U.S. and British forces on Monday conducted airstrikes targeting Yemen's Hodeidah International Airport and Kamaran Island near the port of Salif off the Red Sea.

(Reuters - Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Writing by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Alison Williams)