In a concerning turn of events, the British-owned and Japanese-operated ship, “Galaxy Leader,” has been seized near Hodeida, Yemen, en route to India. The vessel, a vehicle carrier with 25 crew members, fell into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi rebels, prompting widespread apprehension and condemnation.
Expressing deep concern over the incident, the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson highlighted the uncertainties surrounding the seizure. The ship, flying the flag of the Bahamas, was reportedly navigating between Turkiye and India when captured by the Houthis.
The vessel’s operator, NYK Line, assured in a press release that they have established a crisis management center to prioritize the safety of the 25 crew members.
Houthi rebels from Yemen were seen storming a cargo ship in the Red Sea, in a video released by the Iran-backed group. The Houthis claim the ship has links to Israel, who deny the charge and say the seized ship was British-owned and Japanese-operated https://t.co/iywbKftAP6pic.twitter.com/ifssojhOSZ
At a recent press briefing, Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, emphasized the importance of upholding international law concerning maritime navigation and freedom of navigation.
Dujarric urged all concerned parties and countries in the region to exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalatory actions.
The United States swiftly denounced the ship’s seizure as a flagrant violation of international law. The US State Department demanded the immediate release of the vessel and its multinational crew, emphasizing consultation with allies and UN partners for appropriate next steps.
The Galaxy Leader’s crew, comprised of nationals from Bulgaria, Ukraine, the Philippines, Mexico, and Romania, faces an uncertain situation. The vessel, chartered by Japan’s Nippon Yusen, is flagged by the Bahamas.
Owners and managers of the ship expressed their grave concern, labeling the seizure as a gross violation of freedom of passage and a significant threat to international trade.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, the Houthis announced on Sunday that all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag could be targeted.
This declaration raises geopolitical tensions, with Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree asserting that military operations against Israel will persist until aggression against Gaza ceases.
The international community is closely monitoring developments, underscoring the need for a swift resolution to ensure the safety and security of the Galaxy Leader’s crew and uphold the principles of international maritime law.