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Crew abandons after a cargo ship bulk carrier M/V Verbena on fire in Gulf of Aden: US

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SANA : The US Military said on Saturday that the crew of a bulk cargo carrier that sustained damage following a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden has abandoned the ship, as reported by news agency AFP. The Houthis have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023 in attacks that, according to them, are in solidarity with Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Those attacks increased this week.

According to US Central Command, the crew of the M/V Verbena issued a distress call because it could not control fires touched off by the attack with two cruise missiles from the Iran-backed rebels on Thursday, AFP reported. M/V Verbena is a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated ship.

In a post on X, CENTCOM said that another cargo ship rescued the crew. “The Iranian frigate IRIN Jamaran was eight nautical miles from M/V Verbena and did not respond to the distress call,” CENTCOM stated. A sailor sustained severe injuries due to the missile attack. He was evacuated by US forces.

According to AFP, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said another cargo ship, the M/V Tutor, was abandoned after it was hit by a sea drone off the rebel-held city of Hodeida on Wednesday. The incident caused serious flooding. The vessel is adrift in the Red Sea.

The Houthis seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention backing the government in 2015. Yemen’s war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people through fighting or indirect causes, including disease or a lack of food, with the majority of the population heavily dependent on aid.

Earlier this month, the Houthi group claimed responsibility for launching missile and drone attacks against two commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a statement that the attacks targeted two ships belonging to companies that violated the Houthi decision to ban entry to Israeli ports. 

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