Web Stories Friday, February 23

ATHENS: The Greek-owned bulk carrier MT Zografia with 24 crew on board was hit by a missile off Yemen, two Greek shipping ministry sources told Reuters on Tuesday (Jan 16).

It confirms earlier reports that the vessel was hit while transiting northbound in the Red Sea, where many ships have been hit by Houthi rebels in recent weeks.

A source within the Greek maritime affairs ministry named the ship as the Zografia, a 24-crew vessel, and said it had been sailing from Vietnam to Israel.

“A Malta-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier was reportedly targeted and impacted with a missile while transiting the southern Red Sea northbound,” maritime risk management company Ambrey said in an alert.

The ship, which has visited Israel since the outbreak of war in Gaza and was headed to the Suez Canal, changed course and headed to port after the incident, Ambrey said.

The Zografia “sustained limited damage… but remains in a navigable condition, and is continuing its journey”, the source said, adding that there were no injuries on board.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis, who launched attacks on US vessels on Sunday and Monday following US and UK strikes on their territory last week.

US, UK HIT HOUTHI TARGETS

On Sunday, US forces shot down a Houthi cruise missile targeting an American destroyer, and on Monday a US-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman was hit by another rebel missile.

The incidents followed Friday’s US and UK strikes on scores of sites in rebel-held Yemen in retaliation for the Red Sea attacks which have disrupted shipping in the vital waterway.

The Houthis have been targeting what they deem Israeli-linked vessels, but after Friday’s strikes they declared US and British interests “legitimate targets”.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a maritime security agency run by the British navy, also reported an “incident” in an area northwest of Saleef in Yemen, without giving further details.

WARNING OF ESCALATION RISK

Earlier, Qatar’s prime minister said liquefied natural gas shipments would be affected by tensions in the Red Sea, and warned that strikes on Yemen risk aggravating the crisis.

“LNG is… as any other merchant shipments. They will be affected by that,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the World Economic Forum in Davos, referring to the exchanges with the Houthis.

“There are alternative routes, those alternative routes are not more efficient, they’re less efficient than the current route,” he added.

British oil giant Shell indefinitely suspended all shipments through the Red Sea last week due to the Houthi threat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

It joins several major shipping companies in diverting vessels away from the key route between Asia and European markets, which normally carries about 12 per cent of global maritime trade, on a major detour around southern Africa.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that at least five LNG vessels operated by Qatar had stopped en route to the Red Sea.

“(Military intervention) will not bring an end to this, will not contain it. So the contrary, I think will create… a further escalation,” Sheikh Mohammed said, referring to the tensions in the Red Sea.

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