UPDATE: The Houthis released the footage of the operation. The militants landed on the ship from the Mi-8/17 helicopter:
On November 20, the representative of the government of Japan, the Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed the seizure of the Galaxy Leader ship operated by Nippon Yusen, and strongly condemn the attack. There were reportedly no Japanese citizens in the crew.
Tokyo appealed to the Houthi mouvement, which seized a cargo ship in the southern part of the Red Sea on November 19, as well as to the authorities of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran, calling for the speedy release of the vessel and its crew. The Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that 22 crew members, including Bulgarians and Filipinos, were on board at the time of the seizure of the vessel.
The video reportedly shows the operation:
The Yemeni Ansar-Allah claimed that the rebels captured an “Israeli” ship in the Red Sea and brought it ashore with the crew. The mouvement warned that any ship belonging to Israel or those who support it will become a legitimate target for the Houthi forces. The spokesman also called on all countries to withdraw their citizens working on the crews of any such ships.
“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces, with the help of God Almighty, carried out a military operation in the Red Sea, which resulted in the seizure of an israeli ship and its transfer to the Yemeni coast. The Yemeni Armed Forces are dealing with the ship’s crew in accordance with the teachings and values of our Islamic religion,” the report reads.
Israel said that Yemen’s Houthis (Ansar Allah) had seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea, describing the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with consequences for international maritime security.
“This is a ship that left Turkey on its way to India with an international civilian crew, without Israeli crew members on board. The captured vessel is not an Israeli ship,” the IDF said in a statement.
According to the London Stock Exchange, Galaxy Leader belongs to a company registered under the name Ray Car Carriers with headquarters on the Isle of Man. The company is part of Ray Shipping, registered in Tel Aviv.
Last week, the Houthi leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, said that his forces would launch more attacks against Israel and they could target Israeli ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. The seizure of Galaxy Leader could lead to a serious escalation, even if none of the crew were Israelis. The U.S. could further increase its military presence in the Bab al-Mandab Strait or even launch some military operation against the Houthis.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Houthis Seize Ship In Red Sea, Israel Denies Ownership
- Houthis Issue Final Warning To Israeli Operated Or Owned Ships