Merchant Vessel And Crew Safe After Explosion Near Djibouti Port, UKMTO Says

Merchant Vessel
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A ship near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait witnessed an unexpected explosion in the distance, signalling a new attack by the Houthi rebels.

The strait between Eritrea and Djibouti in Yemen and the Horn of Africa links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean. It is undeniably a critical waterway for international trade.

The explosion came after a sort of lull from the Houthis, who have been launching dozens of attacks on shipping in the region on the pretext of Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas.

The Houthis have launched over 50 attacks on international shipping, seized a vessel, and sank another since November last year.

The Houthis, however, did not claim responsibility for this blast immediately.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Centre reported this blast. But the group is under suspicion, which usually takes hours before acknowledging any of their assaults.

The explosion took place about 130 km to the southeast of Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden.

The UKMTO further said that the merchant vessel’s master reported an explosion in the water 72 nautical miles east of the port of Djibouti.

The vessel and its crew members are safe. The relevant authorities are still investigating the matter.

The maritime security major Ambrey separately reported the incident.

Shipping via the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden has decreased due to the threat.

Houthi attacks have also decreased in recent weeks due to the result of a US-headed airstrike movement in Yemen that has reportedly targeted the rebels.

American officials have also speculated that these rebels might be running out of weapons due to the ongoing campaign.

However, the Houthis have said that they‘d continue the attacks until Israel chooses to end its war in Gaza, which has taken the lives of over 34,000 Palestinians, most being civilians.

The vessels targeted by the Houthis have had little or zero direct connection with the US, Israel, or any other nation that is involved in the war.

While the Houthis have fired missiles toward Israel itself, they have either been intercepted or fallen short.

The assaults have helped raise the profile of the Houthis, who are members of the Islamic minority sect, Shiite Zaydi, which ruled Yemen for 1,000 years until 1962.

The group seized Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, in late 2014.

A Saudi-headed coalition has been battling the group in a stalemated conflict since 2015.

Reference: EuroNews

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